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Home » Methods » Roleplay


Lack of needs orientation
2-5 project managers and/or partners and citizens
1 hour
  • Video conferencing: Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.

Explanation of the method

  1. First conduct the roleplay internally among the project members. This can give you access to your target group's point of view.
  2. Decide which idea you want to implement in the roleplay, e.g., a situation in which the product is used; e.g., how a person reacts to a certain service. Assign appropriate roles to team members.
  3. Take about 30 minutes to immerse yourself in the assigned role. The more background information you have about each role, the better you will be able to get into character. Perform the play and change roles in between. Use props and costumes to make the role play more authentic.
  4. Note down conspicuous behavior of the actors. A video recording facilitates the analysis afterwards.
  5. Analyze your own reactions from your role play.
  6. As an alternative to a classic role play, in which you take on the perspective of the users, you can also integrate your target group directly into the method. For this purpose, record a radio play in which the respective situation is described from the target group's point of view.
  7. Play this radio play to people in your target group. At the same time, ask them to write down their thoughts on the situation.
  8. After you have performed the radio play, analyze the reactions and notes of your users. Use these findings for the further development of your product/service.


  • If the target group is very different from the project team, the role play can help with generating ideas to better address the needs of the target group.
  • This procedure is suitable for informing potential participants about the project without obligation, for establishing contacts, for exchanging ideas and for identifying initial attitudes towards the project.


  • It can be time-consuming to get into the given roles and present them. It is therefore important to take this time for preparation and also to make use of necessary props.
  • Social desirability effects could cause a bias in the results.
  • If the target group is not included in the play and the project leaders differ greatly from them, the situation may not be presented appropriately. This can consequently lead to false findings

Advice from practice

  • If you have the opportunity to include your target group in the role play, this will increase the quality of your insights.
  • Getting to know each other and loosening up exercises can be helpful to build trust in the group for the role play.
  • The more information you have gained about the target group through other methods, the better the actors can empathize with the role.
Please note that the tools and methods were created as of August 2024 and all Miro Boards are editable.
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