Look out.

Use the Systemspotting Drill when you want fresh inspiration for how to get things done.

There’s nothing quite like a change of scenery to spark the senses—especially when you’re feeling a little tired or stuck. This is why we try to build a Get Out Drill into our Blitzes—typically, after lunch—whenever possible. 

One of our go-to Get Out Drills is called Systemspotting. We ask Wrong Thinkers to take a walk in the surrounding space and look for systems totally unrelated to our challenge to see how they might inspire or teach us. These systems might be natural (e.g., spider's web) or human-made (e.g., mailbox).   

Later, Wrong Thinkers will use these systems as sources of inspiration to generate new ideas for solving their challenge(s). Meanwhile, they get a change of scenery, a shift in mindset, and some quality time with colleagues.


  • Attentive and receptive mindset

  • New starting places for system design

  • Opportunities for serendipitous connections

  • Team bonding and boldness

Brown paper bag


Step 1
Introduce the Systemspotting Drill.

Step 2
Have Wrong Thinkers divide into duos or trios. 

Step 3
Ask Wrong Thinkers to find three existing systems in the surrounding environment—natural or human-made—that work very well.

Step 4
Ask Wrong Thinkers to email photographs or videos of the systems they discover to you. 

Step 5
Have Wrong Thinkers take notes on how the system works, for whom it works, and why they believe it works well.


Step 6
Upon their return, have Wrong Thinkers identify the systems they spotted on Post-its using just two words, and place the Post-its in a brown paper bag.

Step 7
Ask teams to share the highlights from their Systemspotting.

The systems can be simple, for example: order taking at Starbucks or a crosswalk.

Have Wrong Thinkers pull Post-its from the brown paper bag to randomly select the starting point for a Let Go Drill, such as Random Word or System Hack.

Keep in mind that Wrong Thinkers will be slow to leave, and slow to return. The bigger the group the more time you should allow for departure and return. We often schedule a 15-minute break or put in a 15-minute time buffer at the end of this drill.


When to use the Drill

How to introduce the Drill

Tips for facilitating the Drill