Resource: 30 Circles – Creativity Challenge

It’s always good to have a few new activities up your sleeve to keep the creativity juices flowing, and this activity spotted on the Harvard Business Review blog is great for creative thinking in adults or children within any educational setting.

Here is the idea, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley:

Click image to download PDF

It’s a great warm-up and also highlights the balance between fluency (the speed and quantity of ideas) and flexibility (how different or divergent they are).

TOOL: 30 Circles

PARTICIPANTS: Solo or groups of any size

TIME: 3 minutes, plus discussion

SUPPLIES: Pen and a piece of paper (per person) with 30 blank circles on it of approximately the same size.


  • Give each participant one 30 Circles sheet of paper and something to draw with – Click here to download as a PDF.
  • Ask them to turn as many of the blank circles as possible into recognizable objects in three minutes.
  • Compare results.

Look for the quantity or fluency of ideas. Ask how many people filled in ten, 15, 20, or more circles? (Most people don’t finish.) Next, look for diversity or flexibility in ideas. Are the ideas derivative (a basketball, a baseball, a volleyball) or distinct (a planet, a cookie, a happy face)? If people were drawing their own circles, did anyone “break the rules” and combine two or more (a snowman or a traffic light)? Were the rules explicit, or just assumed?

This can be a great starter, tutor time, or staff activity to see how creative individuals are. Please share your results with us and enjoy the psycho-analysis of those around you 🙂 Original idea, plus visual example available from here.

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About @digicoled 446 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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