Inspiration Cards

A variety of cards which help create new ideas.

Inspiration cards typically show a technology, a knowledge source, a process or way to solve a problem, a tool or some other item which might make participants think outside the box when combining an inspiration with the issues they focus on.

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Creativity tool

How many people can use it?
2 – 6

Download, print and cut

Exploration, identify, track

Related tools
Context map, situation template

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What is it?

Inspiration cards help brainstorm around new solutions using existing or modern processes, technologies or ways of completing a task, as well as resources or other things which might change the way a situation is currently dealt with.

The cards show technologies, connectivity mediums, media tools and products. For example cards include Bitcoin, virtual reality headset, a REST API, drones, game boards or “A lot of cash”,

Each card displays a picture and a title to prompt discussions and is best used when entities and situations have been discussed and new solutions are being ideated.

Why use it?

Regardless of how creative a group of people may be, we run out of ideas eventually when there is no more input and additional perspectives. Inspiration cards are used to help that.

For people who do not think out of the box so often, we can use inspiration cards combined with a problem, and think what the outcome might be. No matter how unfeasible or silly it may seem. For example what does combining a situation about ‘difficulty finding a parking space’ and an inspiration of ‘drones’ provide? It could be that the drone directs you to the closest parking space in the city. It could be that the drones act as parking attendants and flag where open spaces are which get reported to a navigation app for drivers. The list could go on.

When should it be used?

Once a number of situations has been defined to explore, use them as a way to stimulate new ideas and create different perspective in a divergent ideation step. Creating ideas should be as broad and diverse as possible where judgement is not passed until there is a great amount to compare and converge upon.

Keeping blank flash cards nearby us a good idea – participants will often come up with their own inspiration and it’s good to write them down.

How to use

Participants are simply asked to filter through the card deck and to think about the situations being explored along with the new inspiration and how it changes the dynamics.


Before any session it’s wise to filter out unwanted cards from a session. Depending on the technical mindset of the group, it’s probably better not to have many software and development inspired cards.

Depending on the goals of the workshop and the types of solutions that a group is expected to think about, the inspiration cards can lead people towards specific technological solutions. Inspiration cards can be created with a focus on Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain etc. Even carpentry and wood work could be an inspiration. Anything else you can categorise and consider as an enabling problem solver would work as an inspiration card.