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9 Way to Disentangle Worldviews for Design

March 23, 2015

Worldview Cards are great for exploring different perspectives. They work well for individual learning, small groups, and large group settings. They are as appropriate for middle school-aged students learning about different perspectives as they are for board room empathy and decision making.

Worldview Cards build the capacity of individuals and groups to make choices based on their values. They develop self-reflection and understanding of others. Worldviews can help move conversations away from conflict and contention and towards recognition, action, and leadership.


The cards can be used as conversation starters, to introduce new ideas, to explore different perspectives, for play, or for invention. They can be used as prompts for personal reflection or group discussion. They are practical tools for engaging with peoples’ beliefs in different ways and for finding new ways to interact with the world.

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Here are 9 ways to put the cards into practice to solve common problems:

Learning: Build your worldviews vocabulary. Can you identify how different worldviews are represented in politics, media, and everyday life? Select combinations of cards from one or more of the 7 dimensions.

Reflection: Use the cards to allow others to share their perspectives. For each dimension, have participants choose the card that best represents what they believe. Have them describe why they believe it, what influenced their thinking, and when it matters most.

Audience Understanding: Work through all or a subset of the cards. Which cards describe your target audience or stakeholders? What evidence can you point to that shows how their worldviews are put into practice? Which worldviews are likely to be the most important or sacred to their beliefs and decisions?

Political Ecology: How do the worldviews of different political economies compare to each other? How do different worldviews come to bear on institutional rules and norms, legal doctrine, and economic assumptions?

Negotiation: Provisionally prioritize the values of individuals or groups competing for resources or power. What dimensions and worldviews matter most? Which are sacred? Which are flexible to material or economic incentives?

Foresight: What would a different set of worldviews mean for the shape of technology, social interactions, economics, or everyday life? How might different alternative futures shape the distribution of worldviews a decade from now?

Persona Building: Select worldviews to help define and develop personas. Use worldviews to build understanding, prompt empathy, and create vivid depictions of other perspectives.

Play: Add the worldviews to your game. Use the cards and their perspectives to build your community. Use the worldviews to create a reward system. Use the cards to build characters for role playing.

Invention: Create a new tool, technology, or way of working that satisfies one or more of the worldviews. Do the same to resolve a tension between competing worldviews.

See seven additional motions and interaction techniques for card decks on the Deckaholic Blog.

Many people have never had the opportunity to talk about their beliefs with anyone. Discussing worldviews openly can reduce the discomfort that comes with sharing personal beliefs. Some people may have objections to some of the worldviews described. Address the objections honestly and earnestly. Take it further by asking what participants think and how they feel about it. Try to build understanding around obstacles or resistance, why it exists, and what assumptions might be involved.

Do you have ideas for using the worldviews cards? Send us a tweet @coclimate


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