Last reviewed: 1 February 2022


Rapid eights

Create lots of ideas to solve one problem.

  • 1 to 8 people
  • 15 to 20 minutes

Advice on rapid eights

Why use rapid eights

Rapid eights help your team to:

  • create lots of new ideas quickly
  • understand that their first idea is not always the best and work past it
  • think of ideas you would not have thought of otherwise because you’re working quickly
  • share their individual ideas

Who is involved

People with a range of different perspectives and knowledge which usually includes:

  • a facilitator
  • all team members
  • anyone outside the team who could add a different view or who you want to engage

When to do rapid eights

You can use this method when:

  • you’re starting work on a new discovery, product, service or feature
  • research provides enough confidence to start creating ideas
  • you or your team needs to look at a problem in a new way

Things you’ll need

  • The problem you want to solve so that people can access it for the whole activity
  • Information that will help, for example, outcomes, commercial value, user research
  • A way for people to sketch their ideas
  • A timer and someone do the timing

Tips on running the session

    Make sure everyone understands:

  • the problem you’re trying to solve and how it fits into the bigger picture.
  • the quality of drawing is not important - it's about getting your ideas across, not being an artist
  • what you will do with the ideas after the session

Learn more

Watch a YouTube video demonstrating rapid eights.

Read guidance from Google Design Sprints on rapid eights.


Related terms: design and design thinking, working in the open.

See definitions of these terms in our glossary.

How to do rapid eights

How to use the steps

This is one way of doing this activity based on our experience.

You might want to adapt it or only use part of it.

Teams often find their own way of doing an activity. This is a guide to get you started.

  1. Welcome and introductions

    Welcome everyone to the session. Ask everyone to introduce themselves if the group do not know each other. You could use a check-in activity.

  2. Introduce the aims for the session with your team, for example:

    “In this session we’re going to generate ideas and potential solutions to the problem we’re focusing on.”

  3. Discuss any blockers or limitations

    Try and think as wide as possible when generating ideas in this way. If the team face any significant constraints, it’s good to discuss them beforehand.

    It’s good to say that this activity is not about drawing skills or judging the drawings themselves. It’s a free way to express ideas. Encourage people to draw, but they can also use text if they want.

  4. Do the method or activity

    Agree the challenge or problem you want to solve.

    Write the problem somewhere and make it available for people.

    Make sure everyone has a way of capturing eight ideas.

    One way to do this is by folding a single sheet of A3 or A4 paper in half 3 times to make 8 equally sized panels. You could then take a picture of your ideas on paper and upload them to a shared space online that everyone can see.

    Another option would be to use a collaborative online tool such as Miro. The group could visualise ideas using the built in drawing tools, like icons and illustrations, to share their ideas.

    Set a timer for 8 minutes (1 minute per panel).

    Let everyone know that when the timer starts they need to quickly sketch one idea per panel individually. The quality of drawing is not important.

    Call out the time every minute and ask everyone to move onto the next sketch. It’s okay if some people have started the next one early.

    When the time is over ask everyone to share and talk through their ideas. It’s best if everyone can see the sketched ideas in a shared space.

  5. Review the method or activity

    Let the group know what’s going to happen with the ideas. You could prioritise the potential ideas using the dot voting activity.

  6. Close the session

    Close the session and collate the ideas somewhere that everyone can access.

To decide what you work on next, go to ways of working activities.

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