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Looking for quick inspiration for sparking conversation and generating brilliant ideas in your next workshop? We saved you some time by rounding up the Butter Community’s favorite facilitation decks.

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Facilitation card decks give you an entire facilitation toolbox in your pocket. 

Because these decks remind us so much of card games, they feel more like play than work. Participants leave their work personas behind and embrace silliness, vulnerability, and fun.

No matter which type of facilitation style you prefer, there’s a deck that you’ll love to have as a companion. 

Some decks help you plan your entire workshop flow. Some are great for prompting meaningful conversation and making every voice heard. Others help you pivot during a session if needed with a quick activity. 

Some cards are very methodical and structured, while others are versatile, encouraging playfulness and creativity. 

To help you pick the best deck for your workshops, we’ve gathered recommendations from the Butter Community that cover:

  • Session design
  • Strategy
  • Ideation
  • Creativity
  • Wellbeing
  • Team dynamics and cohesion
  • Debriefing and reflection

And if you want to take these decks from the physical to the virtual, we’ve introduced flashcard decks as a tool in Butter—so you can pre-load your favorite cards and activities to your virtual sessions and use them whenever you want.

1. Facilitator Cards

Available at: Facilitator.cards

Deck type: Session design methods

Facilitator Cards is a 60-activity card deck designed by Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann of Facilitating.XYZ.

Facilitator Cards offer tons of activities that make it easy to plan your workshops, but they’re also useful to use in-session when something unexpected happens and you need an activity to pivot on the spot.

In addition to the physical deck, they also have Virtual Facilitator Cards.

😍 Why we love them: Facilitator Cards are categorized into four color-coded categories (Emotion, Ideation, Clarification, and Execution), making it super easy to pick a relevant activity on the fly!

📒 Further reading: How to increase workshop participation with Facilitator Cards & Butter

2. Workshop Tactics 

Available at: Pipdecks.com

Deck type: Session design methods, ideation, strategy sessions

Designed by Charles Burdett, Workshop Tactics is a curated list of the best agile and design-thinking workshop techniques for product teams.

You can use tactics independently as a mini-workshop, or you can combine multiple cards and tactics to plan entire sessions.

In the deck, you'll find creative ideation workshops, energizers, icebreakers, retrospectives, root-cause analysis workshops, decision-making matrices, and core facilitation techniques.

😍 Why we love them: Their Workshop Strategy System decision tree helps you choose the right workshop at the right time. It’s a great place to start if your team needs to get unstuck.

3. Liberating Structures Cards

Available at: TheLiberators.com

Deck type: Session design methods

Liberating Structures are built on the idea that conventional structures are either too inhibiting (e.g. presentations and status reports) or too disorganized (e.g. brainstorms). Liberating Structures are intentionally simple activities that help you get more out of your group.

Created by Holisticon, Liberating Structures are easy-to-learn microstructures that enhance relational coordination and trust, quickly fostering lively participation for groups of any size. 

For example, the Wise Cards Liberating Structure provides a session structure where some participants act as consultants and others act as clients, allowing you to learn from the collective expertise of a group.

Each deck comes in a paper box with 33 cards, one for each Liberating Structure. It also includes 4 cards with additional information. 

You can also access all Liberating Structures for free at LiberatingStructures.com.

😍 Why we love them: Because they help you create strings and combine Liberating Structures, these cards make it easy to design full workshops, team meetings, or scrum events.

4. Foresight Cards 

Available at: ivto.org

Deck type: Session design, strategy sessions

Foresight Cards are used to assess your external environment—for example, to discuss uncertainties, stress test a business model, or to create awareness of past, current, and future changes.

This pack of cards contains 125 external forces from macro/contextual environments. The forces are classified based on STEEP categories (social, technological, economical, environmental and political). 

These cards can be used for all types of strategy sessions, including SWOT analysis, Porter analysis, business model, system diagram, and scenario planning.

The deck also contains three complete workshops:

  • create awareness
  • stress testing business models
  • determine key uncertainties for scenario planning

😍 Why we love them: The cards are all multilingual, so each card features English, Nederlands (Dutch), Deutsch (German), and Español (Spanish).

5. 75 Tools for Creative Thinking 

Available at: 75toolsforcreativethinking.com

Deck type: Session design methods, ideation

This set of cards takes you through the entire ideation process with fun and out-of-the-box activities. They can be used by anyone who’s looking for some creative inspiration.

The deck takes you through five stages. You start with activities to explore and better understand the challenge you’re facing. Then, you can collect insights and gather feedback from participants to better understand their needs. You can then structure these insights before moving on to ideation. Finally, finish by defining the criteria and evaluating ideas to pick the best ones. 

😍 Why we love them: In addition to the physical card deck, 75 Tools For Creative Thinking is also available as an iPad and iPhone app.

6. IDEO Method Cards

Available at: ideo.com

Deck type: Session design methods, ideation

IDEO Method Cards are meant for inspiring designers who are looking for a creative spark in their work. Each of the 51 cards describes one ideation method and includes a brief story about how and when to use it.

It's not a how-to guide—it's a design tool meant to explore new approaches and help you develop your own. Use the deck to gain a new perspective, inspire a team, turn a corner, or try a new approach.

😍 Why we love them: The cards are divided into four categories: Learn, Look, Ask, and Try, which makes it easy to choose the right cards for your session.

7. Triggers Ideation Cards

Available at: trytriggers.com

Deck type: Session design methods, ideation, strategy sessions

Triggers has 14 different decks available, so it was hard to choose just one. They have decks on Brand Strategy, Business Design, Human-Centric Design, Innovation, and more. They come in a variety of packages, which you can check out in their online shop.

If you’re a design agency that works with all kinds of different creative projects, the Complete Triggers Collection contains all of their decks and will help you with any type of ideation project.

This pack includes a total of 780 Triggers cards (60 per deck) with questions that will help you generate ideas as an individual or with your team.

😍 Why we love them: Triggers has a deck for nearly every design use case, so it’s a great place to start! 

8. Catalyst Cards

Available at: catalyst.cards

Deck type: Versatile and creative, conversation starters

Created by Rich Goidel of Dangerous Kitchen, Catalyst Cards draw on the power of metaphorical thinking to tap into deep-seated mental models to form complex thoughts.

Each of the 52 cards in the deck features a hand-drawn archetype that’s used to trigger visual association as a gateway to the conscious and subconscious. 

The cards themselves are simple—for example, “A day at the beach”, “Goldfish”, or “A wizard’s hat”. But they can be used as mental triggers or starting-off points for all kinds of activities.

For example:

  • Icebreakers: Fan out a handful of cards and ask which card each participant most identifies with
  • Conversation starters: Give each participant a card and ask them how the card relates to the discussion topic or problem at hand
  • Past, present, future: Give each participant three cards and ask them to choose which card represents their past, present, and future

You can play around with the online beta version here

😍 Why we love them: Whereas most of the other cards on our list contain activities these cards serve as metaphorical inspiration. Because the cards are so versatile, they can be used for any type of session—from team building to retrospectives, innovation sessions, creative exploration workshops, personal development, and more. 

9. Intùiti® Creative Cards

Available at: intuiti.it

Deck type: Versatile and creative, conversation starters

Combining concepts from design, Tarot, numerology and Gestalt psychology, Intùiti is an inspirational pack of 78 hand-drawn cards and tales that help you unlock your creativity.

Designed by Matteo di Pascale at the Polytechnic University of Milan and initially funded on Kickstarter, Intùiti cards are a rich collection of archetypes—each related to a thinking model that belongs to our culture. 

The deck is made up of 22 primary cards linked to archetypes and existential moments (e.g. The Beginning, The Gestation, The Change) and 56 secondary cards linked to the four elements and emotions (e.g. Air/Mind, Water/Emotion, Earth/Material). 

For a complete guide on how to use Intùiti, check out their free manual.

Intùiti is available in both English and Italian.

😍 Why we love it: The cards are beautifully illustrated. You can explore them all in the Intùiti Virtual Experience.

10. The Box of Emotions

Available at: uncommongoods.com

Deck type: Wellbeing, conversation starters

This set of 80 cards is a tool to help groups put words to their feelings. The deck was designed by researchers at the Centre for the History of the Emotions in London to help you make sense of your moods and to develop your sense of self-awareness.

Each card features a specific emotion, a miniature essay on its nuances, and a visual to match. 

You'll find the classic emotions like cheerfulness, irritation, or calm, along with some new ones, like ‘fago’—a unique blend of compassion, sadness, and love. 

😍 Why we love it: Sometimes, our emotions block us from coming up with great ideas or taking the next step. Using these cards to name your emotion and work on resolving it can be mentally freeing.

11. The Emotional Culture Deck 

Available at: ridersandelephants.com

Deck type: Wellbeing, conversation starters

Designed by Riders & Elephants, ​​The Emotional Culture Deck is a unique card game that facilitates face-to-face human conversations about what matters. It nudges vulnerability, builds empathy, creates connections, and fosters trust within teams. 

The Emotional Culture Deck is a simple card game toolkit that helps leaders uncover what motivates their people and then map your team’s desired team culture.

You can either use the deck with organizational leaders or employees. Each person gets their own deck to avoid groupthink. For leaders, it asks questions like “How do we want our people to feel at work?”, which leads to a collective agreement on how people should behave at work.

😍 Why we love them: They have a free PDF that you can download and experiment with right away!

12. At My Best Cards

Available at: atmybest.com

Deck type: Wellbeing, team dynamics and team cohesion

At My Best has a series of card decks that are based on the principles of positive psychology—helping people develop narratives around their own strengths and successes. 

They currently have two physical card decks available, Strengths Cards and Good Questions Cards, as well as a collection of virtual card decks at deckhive.com (which is still in beta).

😍 Why we love them: Sometimes all that’s needed is a little positive encouragement. These decks are great for reminding yourself of why you’re awesome!

13. Superpowers 

Available at: superpowers.sypartners.com

Deck type: Team dynamics and cohesion, conversation starters

Superpowers is a tool to help participants and teams learn about their individual superpowers, and how to use them to be at their best. It’s designed by SYPartners and available as a physical card deck and as a paid Apple or Android app. 

The deck is designed to help teams understand how each member can uniquely contribute to the whole of the team. The deck features 21 superpowers, such as empathy, motivation, and creative thinking.

😍 Why we love them: For remote teams, it can be hard to get to know each other’s greatest strengths—as most remote icebreakers focus on personal questions. Superpowers is a great way to learn more about your team’s “work” selves.

14. The Meeting Spicer

Available at: meetingspicer.com

Deck type: Team dynamics and team cohesion, conversation Starters

Are most of your meeting unproductive? The Meeting Spicer is a coaching tool designed to help teams own and hack their meeting culture. 

The deck consists of three types of card:

  • Micro activities: 30-second activities designed to help your team examine their habits, goals, and team dynamics in order to take more responsibility for their actions and be more present. There are start cards for the beginning of each meeting (e.g. “Ask everyone to think silently for 20 seconds about what outcome they expect from the meeting”) and end cards (e.g. “Ask someone remoteIf we achieved just one single thing today, what is it?”
  • Role cards: Meeting participants are given roles and responsibilities for the meetings, such as “Time Keeper” or “Call Facilitator.”
  • Time cards: Double-sided time cards that you can hold up to show how much time is remaining for a topic or activity.

😍 Why we love them: It’s easy to agree on best practices for meetings, but hard to enforce them on a regular basis. The Meeting Spicer deck builds structure into your meetings without a lot of prep work.

15. Holstee Reflection Cards

Available at: holstee.com

Deck type: Team dynamics and team cohesion, conversation starters

Tired of the same old team-building icebreaker questions? Holstee’s Reflection Cards are a fun way to spark meaningful conversations and deepen relationships with your team or the people in your life.

Every 52-card deck includes over 100 thought-provoking questions centered around mindful themes like adventure, creativity, and resilience.

😍 Why we love them: The Reflection Cards are great for team building, but you can also use them with friends, family, and coworkers.

16. The Debriefing Cube

Available at: kilearning.net

Deck type: Debriefing and reflection

The Debriefing Cube is a debriefing set designed by Chris Caswell and Julian Kea with the goal of helping teams solidify their learnings after group sessions, games, or workshops. Each set consists of 61 cards, 4 dice, and either a wooden or paper box.

The six sides of the dice represents a different reflection lens or perspective (Goal, Process, Group Dynamics, Communication, Emotions, and Take-away). Each perspective is represented by a color in the deck, so participants can choose debriefing questions that relate to their perspective, allowing you to answer questions, such as:

  • Goal: “How is your understanding of the goal different now?”
  • Process: “How could you have made the process more/less pleasant?”
  • etc.

😍 Why we love them: Besides the beautiful wooden box, you can also download the debriefing cube PDF for free here.

Butter up your flashcard decks

With the release of Butter Flashcard Decks, you can now use your favorite flashcards directly within the window of your next virtual session—there’s no more need to hold up physical cards to your screen.

With Butter’s Flashcard decks tool, you can easily recreate any of the above decks as a tool in your Toolbox, and then use the decks again and again in any session.

Here’s a quick demo from Chris, our Chief Product Officer, on how to upload your own Flashcard Deck:

For full directions, you can check out the Flashcard Decks page in the Butter Handbook.

To try flashcards in your next session, try Butter for free right now!

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