Jump into the fishbowl

At some point we have all probably been a part of, or an audience of, panel discussions. These are a great way to bring subject matter experts into a meeting or an event and hear their point-of-view on particular topics.

But what if you could go a few steps further, and invite panel participants into a fish bowl? Yeah it sounds a bit fishy at first, but rest assured – fish bowl is similar to a panel, but less formal and way more interactive.


  • Knowledgeable people (the fish) sit in circle to discuss a series of questions, surrounded by a larger group of observers in an outer circle (the bowl)
  • The inner circle (fish) is the stage for speaking and contributing. Those in the outer circle listen actively and move into the role of fish when they wish to participate in the conversation


  • As an alternative to traditional debates
  • As a substitute for panel discussions
  • To foster dynamic participation
  • To address controversial topics
  • To avoid lengthy presentations


We tried this method out at Monday’s Community of Practice: Focus on Daily Kaizen and had great results!

-Terra Milles

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