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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?

Teaching & training

Ketso brings teaching and training to life through active engagement with learners

Remote meetings & teaching

Ketso Connect is a new way of using Ketso in remote, hybrid & physically distanced meetings, workshops & teaching.

Planning, evaluation & 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.

Mentoring & coaching

A visual way to explore issues and develop solutions, Ketso supports reflection, movement and change.

Home schooling, working from home & family activities

Great for problem-solving, project planning & learning. Ketso can be used at home, in one-to-one sessions or small groups.


It offers an effective process for partnership and community development.

Full engagement

Ensures engagement with all team-members, staff, stakeholders and clients.

Writing & thinking

Tactile and visual, Ketso helps emerge and structure your insights.


In research it ensures that every voice is heard. Now cited in over 50 peer-reviewed articles.

Home-schooling and working from home

  • Ketso is a powerful tool for problem-solving, planning and learning. It can be used on your own or in one-to-one exercises, including in home-schooling and learning together with children, or in small group settings. It is perfect for small businesses and people who work from home, where there is a real need for innovation and nimble thinking.

    In addition to our range of resources supporting workshops with groups, we have developed ‘apps‘ for learning and play, planning together, having good conversations, writing, project development and more, for use with our smaller, personal kits.

Organisational development and business planning

  • 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

Research & data gathering

Teaching and training

  • 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.

Specific use cases

  • 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?
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ketso has had particularly good feedback from students who identify as learning differently and those with 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). This case study shows how Ketso was used to explore wellbeing in schools with students who identify as learning differently.

    We have had this advice from a practitioner using Ketso for workshops around mental health. In recognition that the conversation may throw up challenging issues for participants, perhaps unexpectedly, identify a quiet place where people can go for some quiet reflection if the discussion becomes difficult for them, and let participants know about it (and that it is OK to use it!). Try to make sure there is a mental health first aider attending the workshop, and that people know this is the case.

  • 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.

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