Uses & Applications of Ketso

Ketso is a flexible tool for effective thinking and collaboration and has many possible applications. Here, we show you how to get the maximum value from a Ketso kit. The following sections give an overview of the broad areas where we have found Ketso to be especially useful.

What can Ketso be used for?

  • Planning, evaluation and review
    Ketso can be used for project planning, mid-way evaluation and review at the end of projects and major initiatives.
  • Change management
    Ketso is a powerful tool for gaining fresh insight in times of change.
  • Full engagement
    Ensures engagement with all team-members, staff, stakeholders and clients.
  • Development
    It offers an effective process for partnership development and community development.
  • Teaching & training
    Ketso brings teaching and training to life through active engagement with learners.
  • Research
    In research it ensures that every voice is heard.

Organisational development and business planning

  • Engage across all levels of an organisation

    Ketso helps you make efficient use of time in meetings and ensures that everyone gets a say. Ketso stimulates communication across divisions and teams, creating a level playing field for fruitful dialogue between senior managers and people at all levels of an organisation.

    It’s ideal for project planning and strategy development. It can also be used for effective engagement with clients or suppliers, or to engage with customers to develop products and services.

    If a major change is coming up, Ketso can be used to explore how best to implement the change and make the most of opportunities. It can be used to solve problems, address challenges and to develop new ways of working across departments and teams to foster effective communication across silos.

    The Ketso 3 mini (or the mini felt that comes in a Ketso 24) offers a powerful aid for performance development reviews, and can be used to work with team members in developing their own skills and potential.

Stakeholder engagement, project planning & consultation

  • Hear everyone’s voice

    Ketso can be used to engage with project stakeholders, partners, patients or community members, or any combination of these. It is especially useful for fostering the co-production of service delivery, where different groups of people engage in genuine dialogue and develop creative solutions together.

    Ketso can be used at the beginning of a project or strategic planning process, to set goals, develop new thinking and consider ways to achieve the goals. It can be used for evaluation and review at the end of projects, or part-way through in order to check progress and modify direction in response to feedback. It’s a suitable tool for engaging with stakeholders to develop funding bids.

    Ketso is a powerful tool for forging partnerships and new ways of working across sectors.

Teaching and training

  • Stimulate active learning

    Ketso can be used in a wide range of teaching and learning settings, to reveal what students already know and what they hope to achieve from the course, as well as to review learning. It can be used to explore knowledge about particular topics and develop understanding around key issues.

    It has been used in professional training settings and in university education at all levels (in over half the universities in the UK, as well as in New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya, the USA and Canada). In addition to teaching and learning, the kit has also been used for curriculum development and student engagement.

    Ketso has been taken up in primary and secondary schools and further education settings. Uses include: pupil engagement (e.g. on school councils and in eco-clubs), learning languages and English as an additional language, study skills, revision, project development and exploration of learning topics.

Research & data gathering

  • Gain insights from more participants

    Ketso can support a variety of research methods. Instead of being a method per se, it is a data gathering tool that can be used to stimulate discussion, ensure that everyone has a say, help participants to visualise and order their thinking and responses to questions, and capture data (in the form of what people have written on leaves, researcher observations and notes and, where appropriate, recordings of the discussions).

    Ketso can be used in focus groups, with a small group of people discussing key issues with a researcher, and in larger workshops, to gather data from a much larger group of people. The  Ketso 3 mini (or the mini felt that comes in a Ketso 24) can be used in interviews with just one or two participants, where it is used to elicit and order ideas around the key themes of the interview.

    The key to successful use of Ketso in research is to decide what your questions are, and how best to elicit data to answer the questions with the kit. There will be a way to adapt Ketso to ask questions in a way that helps you, and participants, to uncover deeper meanings and have a more engaging discussion with everyone.

    We have developed a tool for analysing the results of Ketso workshops, which is especially useful for looking for patterns in the data, coding, and for collating the results of multiple workshops / sessions with participants. This is free to use. See here for more info and to download the spreadsheet.

  • What academic journal articles have been written about Ketso?

    Ketso has been used in research on every continent apart from Antarctica. It has been used to explore topics as diverse as street tree planning, feminist festivals, workplace learning, libraries and change, and tackling rabies.

    A number of academics have researched the use of Ketso, or written about their use of Ketos as a method.

    Ketso as Method

    The following article is useful for talking about Ketso in general, and as a research method.

    Furlong, C., Tippett, J. (2013) “Returning knowledge to the community: an innovative approach to sharing knowledge about drinking water practices in a peri-urban community” Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, Vol 3 No 4 pp 629–637 doi:10.2166/washdev.2013.071

    The paper is free to download – click here.

    The following article discusses Ketso as a method in ‘Mapping information landscapes in the workplace’ and acts as a useful example of Ketso as a reserach method.

    Whitworth, A., Torras I Calvo, M., Moss, B., Kifle, N. A. & Blåsternes, T. (2014) ‘Changing Libraries: Facilitating Self-Reflection and Action Research on Organizational Change in Academic Libraries’ New Review of Academic Librarianship 20 pp.251–274 (open access)

    Other articles using and discussing Ketso as a research method include:

    ALABBASI, Dalal; STELMA, Juup. (2018) Using Ketso in Qualitative Research With Female Saudi Teachers. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, [S.l.], v. 19, n. 2, apr. 2018. ISSN 1438-5627.

    Ivashinenko, Nina (2014) Searching for a New Approach to Face Poverty on the Local Level, a Case Study in a Small Russian Town, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 22:3, 403-419, DOI: 10.1080/0965156X.2014.988493.

    McIntosh, A. J., Cockburn-Wootten, C. (2016) ‘Using Ketso for engaged tourism scholarship’, Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 56, January 2016, pages 148-151

    Wengel, Yana & McIntosh, Alison & Cockburn-Wootten, Cheryl. (2019). Co-creating knowledge in tourism research using the Ketso method. Tourism Recreation Research. 1-12. 10.1080/02508281.2019.1575620.

    Ketso in use

    If you are using Ketso in community planning or other stakeholder engagement, these articles may be a useful reference:

    Tippett, J. (2013) “Creativity and learning – participatory planning and the co-production of local knowledge” Town and Country Planning, TCPA, October, 2013: Special Issue: Urban and Regional Ecology and Resilience, pp 439-442

    Contact us if you would like a copy.

    Bates, J. (2016) Ketso: A New Tool for Extension Professionals, The Journal of Extension, 54:1 Free to download here.

    If you are talking about Ketso in teaching, you can reference this article:

    Tippett, J., Connelly, A., How, F. (2011) “You Want Me to Do What? Teach a Studio Class to Seventy Students?, Journal for Education in the Built Environment, Vol. 6, Issue 2, December pp. 26-53 (28)
    ISSN: 1747-4205 Download here (pdf)

    Background research

    The background research at the University of Manchester, and funded by the ESRC and Mersey Basin Campaign, that led to Ketso is developed in detail in this peer-reviewed article:

    Tippett, J., Handley, J. F., Ravetz, J. (2007) “Meeting the challenges of sustainable development—A conceptual appraisal of a new methodology for participatory ecological planning”, Progress in Planning, Volume 67, Issue 1, Pages 9-98

    This can be accessed for free here.

  • Have any research projects or PhDs used Ketso as a data gathering method?

    Several PhDs have used Ketso to gather data at various stages of the research, the completed ones we know of are listed below. We are always keen to hear of more examples and add to the list below, please let us know if we have missed any!

    AL-Abbasi, Dalal, 2017, ‘The Experiences of Saudi Female Teachers Using Technology in Primary Schools in Saudi Arabia’ A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Ph.D. in the Faculty of Humanities, School of Environment and Development, Manchester Institute of Education, Manchester, UK.

    You can watch a video of Dr. Dalal AL-Abbasi talk about her use of Ketso in her PhD here.

    Hall, Justine Michelle, 2010, ‘Trees in Towns: Factors Affecting the Distribution of Trees in High Density Residential Areas of Greater Manchester’, A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Ph.D. in the Faculty of Humanities, School of Environment and Development, Planning and Landscape Department, Manchester, UK.

    Kolodziejski , Ann Louise, 2014, ‘Connecting People and Place: Sense of Place and Local Action’ A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of PhD in the Faculty of Humanities.

    le Roux, Ebenhaezer, 2010, ‘Action Research into a Learning Initiative with Environmental Managers in a Transitional Local Government, South Africa’, A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Ph.D. in the Faculty of Humanities, School of Environment and Development, Planning and Landscape Department.

    Njiraini, Nancy Nyambura Karanja (2015) ‘Exploring the importance of critical thinking in creating capabilities for self-reliance in international community development: A Kenyan context’. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

    O’Shea, Susan Mary, 2014 ‘The Art Worlds of Punk-Inspired Feminist Networks – A social network analysis of the Ladyfest feminist music and cultural movement in the UK’ A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Ph.D. in the Faculty of Humanities.

    Sarky, Sarook , 2016. ‘An Evaluation of Participatory Ecotourism Planning Approaches in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’, Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON, FACULTY  OF SOCIAL AND HUMAN SCIENCES, Geography and Environment.

Specific use cases

  • Can you use Ketso for discussing detailed, established issues or plans?

    You can use Ketso to get feedback on the plan or options within it, exploring how best to implement the change, and finding ways to make the most of the change to meet people’s needs.

    The kinds of questions you can ask around implementing decisions or plans which have already been made include:

    • What would success look like?
    • What resources have we got to achieve this plan?
    • What are the future possibilities / what else can we do?
    • What are the barriers and what might prevent us from achieving our goals?
    • How can we overcome these barriers?

  • Can Ketso be used to discuss particularly sensitive or challenging topics?

    Ketso has been used in a range of conflict resolution settings. It has also been used to explore major problems in organisational settings and community groups. We find that the kit tends to help people see issues from the perspective of other people. The fact that ideas are (literally) on the table, and built into a picture of the group’s thinking, helps shift individuals’ thinking and encourages people to acknowledge multiple points of view.

    If you want to discuss a particularly sensitive topic, or one where a problem has occurred and you need to find out why, it can be helpful to give participants an opportunity to put their ideas on leaves and mix them up before they are read out. This allows the person who wrote the leaf to be dissociated from the idea and so remain anonymous.

  • Can Ketso be used when participants speak different languages, are illiterate or have communication difficulties?

    Ketso has proved a valuable tool for promoting communication amongst people with different languages. It was used initially in Southern Africa with people speaking Tswana, Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English (as well as with mixed levels of education and literacy). Ketso was a key main engagement tool for bringing together refugees and asylum seekers with service providers across the public sector in developing Scotland’s refugee integration strategy.

    Participants can write ideas in the language they are most comfortable in. They can also draw pictures or use simple symbols instead of words. When an idea is shared on the workspace, the facilitator can ask another participant to add a leaf alongside it in the language in most common use, allowing more people to read the idea. This can be a great way to discuss ideas and the meanings of words, as often the translations reveal quite different senses of what the person means.

  • How does Ketso work for participants with learning difficulties or unseen disabilities?

    Ketso has had particularly good feedback from students with learning difficulties and unseen disabilities, such as anxiety. It has also proved to be a powerful tool for inclusion of students with different levels of knowledge and language abilities. You can download a report assessing Ketso’s value in widening participation at The University of Manchester here (word document) .

  • Are there limits to the age range of people who can use Ketso?

    Ketso works well with young and old alike, and is particularly useful for encouraging cross-generational communication. Ketso can be used with primary school children (as soon as they can write or draw symbols to communicate) and has been used in several workshops with people living with dementia,where it has proven a valuable tool for engagement. See this report for an example (word document).

We have developed several tried and tested methods which help you use Ketso to good effect.

There are a few basic principles around the types of questions to ask and the order in which to ask them that have proven highly effective. Learn how to develop a workshop plan to suit your needs in this How To.