Tool: I Like, I Wish, What If (retrospective activity)

A clever way to get feedback without lots of negative feelings. Instead of asking about positives and negatives, which usually puts pressure on people, halts their thinking, moves them forward negativity. This tool helps to bring feedback in the same fashion, rather quickly, and on the same footing.


  • I Like gives the possibility to reinforce positives and focus on what to keep.
  • I Wish is a more positive outlook on what could be better, but instead of focusing on „I didn’t like”, it forces thinking about proposed solutions on how to tackle those dislikes.
  • What If gives participants the power to „think outside the box,” be creative about maybe a boring topic, and take at least a part of the ownership of a common goal.


I Like, I Wish, What If

  • Tool goal: gather positive and negative feedback in a friendly and constructive way
  • No of participants: 1 facilitator; groups no limit
  • Time needed: max. 30 minutes
  • Supplies needed: flipchart/whiteboard, pens, post-it notes



  • Make sure that your group knows well enough what they’re reflecting on.
  • Explain what hides behind I Like, I Wish, What If (usually, it takes just a second).
  • Silent brainstorming: everyone writes down their ideas for all three categories.
    * Remind the participants to: be legible, only note the idea, not the entire 500-words explanation.
  • Sharing: everyone shares their own insights. It’s easy to categorize them if needed (maybe you’d like to see if the group thinks alike on the topic?), and discuss why they perceive those particular moments to be positive/negative/hopeful.
  • Discussion: if the group is welcoming, it might be worth to discuss and share positive insights/comments concerning negative points of someone else.
  • Summary: ask about the energy levels. Does the group feel motivated, happy with their findings and advice? Do they want to follow up or change some of them?


As a result…

  • You have clear info on what works for particular people, and what doesn’t.
  • You can identify what motives people.
  • You can lead that exercise into a problem-solving session for the identified What Ifs!


Below is an episode of Design Life Podcast, where Charlie and Femke, two in-house designers, discuss their approach towards project retrospectives. Worth listening for inspiration.