Scriptapedia/Hopes and Fears

Hopes and Fears

This script is used to elicit and establish group expectations for a GMB session or project and is performed at the start of a GMB project.


Best practices

Primary nature of group task



Preparation time: 0 minutes

Time required during session: 30 minutes

Follow-up time: 0 minutes


  1. Two different colors of office paper (8.5 x 11) for each participant
  2. Thick tipped markers
  3. Blue "painters" masking tape




List of participants’ hopes and fears


  • Facilitator with good group facilitation skills and knowledge of the local language and topic
  • Wall-builder to categorize hopes and fears
  • Recorder to document the session
  • Runner (optional) to transfer hopes and fears from facilitator to wall-builder


  1. Participants are given several sheets of paper in each color. The facilitator explains that they will be writing their hopes and fears for the project and then sharing them with the group.
  2. The facilitator states which color paper represents hopes and which represents fears. The facilitator asks the participants to write one hope or one fear per paper according to the corresponding colors. The facilitator gives the participants a few minutes to individually write as many hopes and fears in the time allotted.
  3. The facilitator then has the participants to separate the hopes and fears into two piles. The facilitator asks the participants to rank their hopes and fears from most to least important, placing the most important on top of each pile.
  4. In a round-robin fashion, each participant then reads one fear and one hope. The facilitator takes each hope and fear that the participant has read and reflects back what the participant has said for clarity. If there is a runner, the runner will take each hope and fear to the wall-builder. If not, the facilitator will hand off each participants' hope and fear to the wall-builder and return to the next participant.
  5. The wall-builder will concurrently be listening to the participants and facilitator's clarifying statements. The wall-builder will then take hopes and fears from facilitator or runner and cluster them into thematic groups by taping them to the wall. The wall builder may arrange clusters as the script progresses to accurately capture unifying themes.
  6. After each participant has had a chance to share once, the facilitator may open the floor to participants to offer hopes and fears or may go around the room until everyone has shared all of their hopes and fears.
  7. The facilitator will then have the wall-builder explain the themes of the hopes and fears and asks the group: "Does this resonate with you? Are there other themes you notice, or any hopes or fears you think should be moved?"
  8. Recorders write down the theme of clusters in the session notes and take pictures of the wall.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Participants have shared both their hopes and fears for the upcoming project
  • Participants understand the overall themes of the hopes and fears
Example 1


George P. Richardson and David F. Andersen


First described in Luna-Reyes et al (2006).




Luna-Reyes, L. F., Martinez-Moyano, I. J., Pardo, T. A., Cresswell, A. M., Andersen, D. F., & Richardson, G. P. (2006). Anatomy of a group model-building intervention: Building dynamic theory from case study research. System Dynamics Review, 22(4), 291-320.


  • Have pieces of tape ripped beforehand, so that everyone isn’t distracted by the Wall Builder struggling.
  • Tell participants to write big on their papers so everyone can see.
  • It’s OK to share repeats, but encourage sharing new ideas first.
  • When clustering on the wall, don't overlap papers. This makes it more difficult to reorganize as you go.
  • At the end of the project, check in with the group on the Hopes and Fears: How did we do?
  • For groups that may not prefer the word "fear", replacing this word with "concern" or "worry" would be possible.