Remember filling out those Madlibs when you were a kid? Well, they are a powerful way to gain structured feedback from people quickly.

Useful in expanding your scope of inquiry.



A set of specific and structured responses you can use to gauge sentiment, and gather evidence



  1. Brainstorm 4-8 topic areas or themes you are most interested in exploring or gaining feedback. For example, the cost of housing caused by lack of supply or gentrification.
  2. Pick one or two topics, such as lack of supply.
  3. Spend a few minutes iterating what are the key questions for the topic. For example, if you want to know what people think about legalizing granny flats (accessory dwelling units) you might want to know what adjectives people might use to describe their feelings, or who might move in, or how this might change the neighborhood.
  4. Write a few sentences with the adjective as a blank on a few half sheets of paper.
  5. Give it to someone and see what they fill in.
  6. Edit and iterate.
  7. Download this “Fill in the blank template” in a variety of formats: Adobe InDesign, PowerPoint, Word, PDF, Google Presentation.
  8. Print.


  1. Set up a wall to display finished forms with a place to write or provide 2–4 clipboards.
  2. Have volunteers fill out one or two forms and hang up - no one wants to be the first.
  3. Have one or two volunteers man the activation asking for feedback, and telling residents what will be done with the responses, and why it’s important.
  4. Have the resident fill out and hang the form.
  5. If desired, you can film or photograph the resident explaining their submission. Be sure to gain permission and be clear what this will be used for.
  6. At the end of the activation, take a photo of the wall. It should be full.
  7. Take all forms and put into envelopes for archiving.

After the event

  1. If possible, scan all the forms.
  2. Count all the responses.
  3. Find a large flat surface to synthesize the responses by grouping them in piles. Generally you will have some similar responses.
  4. See which grouping have the most responses, ask yourself why this might be.
  5. Try to find the patterns and insights from your respondents.
    Write a quick report on what you heard from your residents, and use the responses and documentary evidence.
  6. Spend some time in iterating what the next questions might be, or what avenues of exploration and study you need to do based on what you’ve heard from your residents.
Staffing needs
  • 1 person
Setup needs
  • A box of sharpees
  • A vertical board to display
  • Pins or tape to hang up finished work
  • A sign
  • Flat place for people to fill out form, or use clipboards
  • 1–2 Manila envelopes for archiving the forms
Suggested duration
  • 2–4 hours
Core behaviors segments
  • Sleeping
  • Scrambling
Useful to:

Build momentum and evidence for Executive.


Validate course of action and gather evidence.


To understand the problem space in order to act.

Journey moments:
What propels the Players to decide on a course of action?
How are the Players prompted to Act?

File Downloads


Fill–in–the–blanks Half Sheet

Use the below documents to create your own fill-in-the-blanks. Note: Most documents have two versions, one using the Verlag font, and the other using the free Google OpenSans font. Download the correct font or customise it to your locla needs.




Los Angeles Innovation Team

Tactical Democracy is a toolkit to help you make meaningful person–to–person engagement in order to empower successful communities.

Learn about the Mindsets you need, how the Players behave and act; what Situations might be best to
deploy Tactics for engagement, to move the Players through their Journey, creating deeper empowerment.

Whoa, there's a lot of terms – check out the Glossary of Terms, and if you want to see everything, goto the sitemap.

Read some blog posts: