The Ikigai activity is a team building tool used to uncover the collective strengths of a team and guide decisions on focus areas. Originating from Japan, where Ikigai translates to “a reason for being,” it offers a framework that integrates four key elements to discover a person or team’s holistic purpose:

  • What we love doing– activities that bring joy and passion.
  • What we are good at – skills where the team excels.
  • What we get more recognition for – aspects of work that provides higher economic benefits.
  • What reaches more people – activities that impact a broader audience.

When these elements intersect, they form Ikigai, leading to fulfillment and a balanced sense of purpose. This intersection is often visualized as a Venn diagram, helping to clearly see how these elements combine to guide career and life paths.

Step-by-Step Process:

  1. List Main Activities: Begin by listing the main activities the team performs. This helps to ground the discussion in current realities.
  2. Explain the Ikigai Model: Introduce the team to the Ikigai framework and its components.
  3. Voting with Emojis: Give each team member five emojis of each type to vote on the listed activities. Assign emojis as follows:
    • ❤️ for what you love.
    • 👍 for what you are good at.
    • 💲 for what brings more financial rewards.
    • 😊 for what impacts more users and clients.
  4. Group Discussion: Focus the discussion on the items that receive the most votes across the categories, pinpointing where passions, skills, and market needs intersect to determine your team’s Ikigai.

This activity isn’t just for individual reflection; it’s highly effective in a team setting to align on what drives each member. By understanding these motivations, the team can prioritize activities that not only fulfill personal and professional aspirations but also meet market demands and financial goals.

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