The purpose of assumption dumption is to get all the assumptions one might have about a problem or theme out in the open to create a shared understanding amongst team members.  This is done to gain a new perspective on the problem/theme and explore beliefs and biases and thereby encourage discussion. This gives access to understanding each others point of view, which can be used to align expectations and identify new possible design areas

Tips to include participants who are not able to:


Instead of individual assumption creation pair up so there is at least one able to write in the pair.


The creation of assumptions is done by the participants taking turns in saying assumptions and the facilitator writing down.


The creation of assumptions is done by the participants taking turns in saying assumptions and the facilitator writing down.


Sign and a translator can be used, or all steps are done in a writing form.


The template is either placed at a suitable height for wheelchair users or placed on the table.



An assumption, problem or theme


Dumped assumptions, better understanding of the problem and opportunities.




15-30 min




– Writing
– Categorising
– Communicating

Step by step:

  1. Print and hang the template where all can see them. The problem/theme should be inserted into the template.

  2. Divide the participants in groups of 3-4 people.

  3. Ask the participants to individually brainstorm over assumptions they have to the problem/theme. The assumptions should be written on post-its, one assumption pr. post-it (2-3 min).

  4. The participants should one by one hang the post-its on the template and cluster the assumptions simultaneously into predefined categories. Examples of useful categorizations could be e.g. ‘relevant’, ‘irrelevant’ and ‘need to explore further’ or whether the assumptions are ‘actual constraints’ or ‘perceived constraints’(5-10 min, depends on the amount of participants and how many assumptions they have found).

  5. Complete another round of both step 3 and 4.

  6. At the end of the exercise you should be able to park the assumptions that are not relevant to your project. Make sure everyone gets a say in the discussion.

When doing this method you should consider:

Make sure that if assumptions created can seem offensive for other participants, that they can either be rephrased, discussed in a curious but not judgemental way, or not included.
Make sure that if targeting a theme with a very specific user group, they are included. Though make sure more than one is represented in the group to avoid pointing them out.
Make sure the group of participants are diverse.
Be mindful of each other’s beliefs.

Materials needed:

  • Template or large piece of paper
  • Post-its
  • Pens