WUB Toolbox Screwdriver


Recommended use

This game will allow participants to find a way to design original solutions to a problem or to improve existing ones.

What does a screwdriver do?

A screwdriver screws (installs) and unscrews (removes) screws.

What a powerful idea!

But… What is a screw? I mean, if we are talking about a problem, what is a screw? In other words: What is a “creativity screw”?

We could say that a creativity screw is something that fixed our understanding of some situation in only one way. And that is a bad thing when you are trying to be innovative. Because that way of understanding the problem is based on our prior knowledge and past experiences and, for the same reason, traditional and non “novel”.

So, if we want to find original solutions, if we want to be capable of identifying new action routes, we must take out that screw.

This game will help a team or an individual working on a problem avoid mental fixation and explore new ways of thinking.


The game has the following phases:

  1. Screws inventory (List of impossibles)
  2. Unscrewing screws (On a competition basis)
  3. Moving in new ways

1.Screws inventory

To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Ask everybody in the team to picture the ideal outcome or solution state for the problem. Ask them to imagine the more ambitious (even if impossible) results.
  • Use the format to identify the most critical screws. A critical screw is impeding either the most desirable solution or several good solutions. A list of 2-10 critical screws would be ideal.

2. Unscrewing screws

This is the most important part. Here, the participants will try to view the problem from different perspectives to find new possible solutions.

  • Divide the participants into teams (2-4 people per team).
  • Select one of the most critical screws. Write it down in a whiteboard or print it on a paper to deliver to each team.
  • Give the teams a fixed time (5´ to 15´ would be a good time) to find ways to “unscrew” that screw. Explain to them that the “unscrewing” process involves trying to find creative ways to remove or avoid that limitation.

3. Moving in new ways

In the third phase, the teams show their ways to “unscrew” the critical screw presented. While each team is doing its proposal, every other participant will imagine ways to use that “trick” to solve the problem and write them in the “Idea catcher” format.

The exercise can be repeated several times in order to cover the most important “critical screws”

Results and Close-up of sessions

The ideas collected in the “Ideas catcher” formats are new and powerful routes to solve the problem. You can put all the formats on the wall and allow the participants to read them again.

The next step will involve selecting and improving the ideas generated.

You can use some of the Optimization tools


Online version:

In order to use this tool in an online format, you can use a shared board (Jamboard can be a good option) where you can include the two formats and everyone can add their ideas using Post-its

External resources

How to use Jamboard


Overcoming Fixation: Creative Problem Solving and Retrieval-Induced Forgetting



Screws inventory format

Ideas catcher format

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