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Six Serving Men

What is the Six Serving Men technique?

Six Serving Men is a team exercise that examines an issue from twelve different viewpoints. It is based on the words of the poem by Rudyard Kipling:

I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew.
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.

To use this technique in a meeting, provide 12 areas for answering questions related to the central topic and ask meeting participants to provide answers to each question. For example, if the workshop is focused on improving the organization's sustainability practices, one sheet would have the question: What are sustainable practices? and another would read What are not sustainable practices? The other 10 sheets would follow the same pattern for the remaining questions.

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