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Pocket Mentor cards to solve all your problems !

Abhinav Agarwal
May 3, 2019 · 4 min read

I have read many books, worked under high uncertainty, juggled between projects, started entrepreneurial projects and I have tried to summarize the decision making approach under uncertainty for problem solving through a set of 54 question cards in the deck .

The fundamental truth behind the cards are that we have all the answers, we just need to be asked the right question! The cards also help become aware of the unknown knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

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I use this deck of cards as a way to share a divergent problem solving mindset which is sometimes not very natural to the the French Cartesian thinking. It started as a joke in French “Résoudre des problèmes avec Des Cartes”, which can be translated as “Solving problems using cards” or Solving problems with Descartes (referring to René Descartes the french philosopher).

Discourse on the Method best known as the source of the famous quotation “I think, therefore I am”, (“Je pense, donc je suis”). It is one of the most influential works in the history of modern philosophy in which Descartes tackles the problem of skepticism to account for a truth he found to be incontrovertible; he started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fresh perspective, clear of any preconceived notions. This is the thought process behind first principle thinking and systems thinking also.

I like to think of the Pocket-Mentor question cards as the mindset behind the method.

Questions are carefully formulated to overcome biases in the vocabulary we use in our daily life and every question is complimented with an image. These are that transform tensions into actions. These are all systemic questions that help get a complete picture of the problem.

The pack contains 5 families

  1. Understanding the context
  2. Clarifying the problem
  3. Searching for opportunities (brainstorming)
  4. Planning for Action (before prototyping)
  5. Intuition cards.

These five stages of problem solving are explained in the below diagram.

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The deck is currently being used by over 200 people in France including agile coaches, project managers, business coaches, founders & CEOs, parents, therapists, facilitators and normal people.

  1. This approach and method can be used in everyday decisions to get stuff done.
  2. Gaining clarity for decision making around entrepreneurial and corporate projects.
  3. As a communication tool for leveraging collective intelligence and uncovering blind spots so that everyone has a shared vision of the project.

9 ways of facilitating with the Pocket-Mentor cards based on the context

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  1. Use it for self-coaching:

You pull out a card, note down your answer for helping you take decisions, clarify problems or improve your productivity.

2) Use it to coach someone else:

Use to ask the questions and compliment with other tools that you use.

3) Use it solve problems between two people:

Each one answers the questions or you can get a third person to ask the questions to both the people.

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4) Use it in your codev sessions:

Use the deck of cards to ask powerful questions fit for all situations.

5) Use it in meetings and group discussions:

Can be used in meetings to follow a structure if you are trying to solve a problem. Can be used to discuss about sensitive topics where you need to create a consensus through multiple perspectives.

6) Use it for empathy interviews in design thinking:

Empathy interviews are the cornerstone of Design Thinking. By entering and understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations, we can understand the choices that person makes, we can understand their behavioral traits, and we are able identify their needs. This helps innovate, and create products or services for that person. Use it to help you formulate questions and compliment with other tools.

7) Use it for sprint retrospectives or daily meetings:

You can use some of the cards to quickly go over the main blockers and how you can simplify the tasks.

After your sprint you can use the cards to review what went wrong and how it can be improved in the next iteration.

8) Use it for promoting intrapreneruship:

Turn your employees into problem solving machines to awaken the entrepreneur in them and do more with less !

9) Use it to sense tensions in Tactical and Governance meetings for organizations that are applying Holacracy principles:

Use it to sense tensions, and transform how things are to how they could be.

Get your own deck from

Happy to connect through my L !

The Frugal Company

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