Hot-air Balloon – Bad Weather is a forward-thinking exercise, with an eye on the past. It is a mix of retrospective and futurespective, which uncovers risks.

Running the activity:

  1. Draw a hot-air balloon in a common canvas.
  2. Ask participants to share their notes for each of the retrospective areas.

       “Let’s start by looking back. Please, write notes and place them on the following two areas above and below the balloon: hot-air and sand-bags.”

  • Looking back – fire and hot-air: what helps us go higher? What are the things that push us forward?
  • Looking back – forces pulling down: which are the forces pulling us down?
  1. Ask participants to share their notes, thinking about the future.

       “Now, let’s look ahead, at the near future. Please, write notes and place them on the following two areas on both sides of the balloon: storm and sunny day.”

  • Looking ahead – storm: what is the storm ahead of us? What will make our trip turbulent?
  • Looking ahead – sunny day: what could we do to avoid the storm and turn toward sunny days? What shall we do to overcome the possible challenges ahead of us?
  1. Gather up group notes and discuss.


Different people prefer different analogies. Some will prefer a balloon, others a speed-car. The important thing is to use a simple and effective analogy to get the participation and the ideas flowing.

Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use a remote board of your choice.

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