Hopes and Fears.

This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution.  We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.


A task to quickly identify a group's hopes and fears for the future.


To establish a general consensus of a group's expectations and concerns about a project and for everyone to have an equal opportunity to voice their opinions.


  1. Ensure that the participants know what the focus is on ahead of the session. It could be on the whole project or on a specific focus.
  2. Begin the session by creating a 2-column diagram labeled "Hopes" and "Fears", either on a whiteboard or a flip chart. (You can use online collaboration software i.e. Miro or Google Docs).
  3. Ask participants to spend 1-2 minutes to write down their 'hopes'. (one hope per sticky note).
  4. Invite participants to present their idea one at a time, adding their idea to the board.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 with fears.

Further Discussion.

Addressing Hopes and Fears early on is important in ensuring expectations alignment and management. At Mäd, we incorporate Hopes and Fears into our Design Sprint Session and we call it WWBAT—Will We Be Able To—to assess the realistic feasibility of our long term goals and aspirations.

Defining hopes and fears also reminds us of the approach of anti-goals. It is undoubtedly useful to make clear goals for a business, project, or even as an individual—yet the art of defining key anti-goals can prove equally useful.

When mapping out your 'fears', you can assign many of them as anti-goals or brainstorm what events would need to transpire to lead to such fears being actualised.