Sparking Connections

A set of 37 cards to explore the connections between the dimensions of the Doughnut and the Four Lenses

Version 1.0 (September 2022)


The four lenses of Doughnut Unrolled have many dimensions within each of the lenses. We've made them into A4 cards so you can print them out and use them in workshops in many different ways.

Here's an example of the cards being used to spark connections...

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Why use it?

The four lenses are so holistic that all the dimensions can be overwhelming. By using cards, you can slowly introduce people to the holistic interconnections of the four lenses in ways playful and engaging ways. They can then be used in lots of different workshop configurations, such as then moving people into groups according to the four lenses or creating interactive connections to specific topics, issues, example of change etc.

Interactive and experiential activities also act to accelerate and ground our learning. When we physically move and shift our bodies, it really increases our ability move and shift our thinking.

Who is it for?

Facilitators, teachers, community organisers and anyone looking to introduce the holistic interconnections across the dimensions of the four lenses to others.

How long does it take?

Sparking Connections takes approximately 20 minutes.

The optional next steps of using the cards to introduce the Four Lenses of Doughnut Unrolled takes approximately 20 minutes as well.

How many people is it for?

The activity works best with around 37 people as there are 37 dimension cards.

If you have fewer people, you can just use fewer cards and choose which cards you'd like to prioritise.

If you have more people, you can print some duplicates of the cards and choose which cards you'd like to prioritise having as duplicates.

The cards

We recommend you print the A4 cards on paper, double sided, colour, then laminate them. Or print them on card that can withstand lots of handling! Click here to access the cards or download them as a pdf below.

Example activity: Sparking connections

  1. Hand out a dimension card to each person in the workshop. Note: there are a total of 37 cards. If you have fewer than 37 people, when giving them out, try and get an even balance of dimension cards from each of the four lenses.
  2. As you hand them out, invite people to read their own card. You can say something like: 'When you get your card, look at the name, take in the pictures and read the short description. It might be something you're very familiar with, like Food or Housing. Or it might something you've never heard of or are unfamiliar with, like Ocean Acidification.'
  3. Now demonstrate how to spark a connection. You can do this by holding a card in the air and inviting someone in the group to do the same. You can then go over to them and demonstrate the process of 1) sharing your dimension with each other, either by using the words on the card or your own words 2) finding connections between them, then 3) (optional) think of ways each of your two dimensions relate to a specific theme, e.g. farming. 
  4. Once you've demonstrated the connection, explain that you then hold your hand up again and find a new person to spark a connection with. Aiming for about 3-4 minutes per connection.
  5. Before you start, as for any clarifying questions. Then invite people to stand up, hold their hands in the air and start connecting in pairs.
  6. In pairs:
    1. share your dimension and paragraph on the card with the other person.
    2. find a connection between the two dimensions.
    3. (optional) think of how each dimension relates to a specific theme, e.g. farming.
  7. Once you've 'sparked' with someone, hold you card in the air and then find someone else to spark with.
  8. Repeat for about 15 minutes.
  9. Start a whole group discussion:
    1. reflections on the process.
    2. did any interesting or unexpected connections come up?

Optional next steps... using the cards to introduce the Four Lenses of Doughnut Unrolled!

  1. Use the cards to divide up the group into the four lenses:
    1. Invite the group to look at their cards and divide into two groups, one with 'social' dimensions and one with 'ecological' dimensions. Get them to line up in their two groups in parallel - one along one side of the space, and one along the opposite side of the space.
    2. Now invite the group to look at their cards again and divide into 'local' and 'global' - whilst keeping their social and ecological division.
  2. Now you've got four groups divided into the four lenses and you can use this as a basis for introducing each of the lenses using the key questions from content from Introducing the four lenses.
  3. Start with the local social group, and work your way round. As you introduce each of the four lenses, invite people to hold up their cards so everyone can see the dimensions of each lens.
  4. Ask for clarifying questions.
  5. Invite someone to offer a issue or inspiring case study related to your topic and stand in the middle of the four lenses.
  6. Invite anyone who thinks their dimension connects to the issue or inspiring case study to step forward and describe the connection.
  7. Move to a large four lenses sheet with sticky notes and pens and invite people to capture connections they discussed relating to your topic. See the tool Exploring a topic for canvases you can print (as well as use online in a Miro board) along with how you could facilitate this process.
  8. Facilitate a group discussion on what's coming up and what this means for existing plans, potential new plans.






    Francine Tavares

    Gold Coast

    I'm a circular thinker, leading sustainability and ESG strategies at Conexus.Earth, an Aussie consultancy tracking sustainability

    Monica Zazueta

    Vancouver WA

    My kiddos present & futures and to change the paradigm.

    Xavier Veciana


    Synergies with DEAL Community are a strong multiplier. Circular economy start ups in Brazil are a hope for Global South.

    Rachel Lyn Rumson

    Maine, USA

    I want to be in this space creating change with this model of economics and thriving in and with my community.

    AG Brader

    Eelde, The Netherlands

    I am keen to embed the core concepts of Doughnut Economic with our youth

    Dominic Dibble

    Bodegraven, the Netherlands

    The adaptability of the Doughnut to local contexts to inform bioregional and place-based living is exciting.


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