Moral Agent

Difficulty Level:

Design Phase:

Method Overview

‘Moral Agent’ is an ethics ideation game based on brainwriting and hidden roles. Each player is ambassador of a moral value during the game. The purpose is to promote ethical design ideas without others noticing. Thus learning how to embed ethics into your designs.

Framework of ethics used



Method Intentions:

Get Started

Participants: Design team

Materials Needed: Moral Agent components, empty index cards, pens, sheet of paper , post-its, pens


  1. Print the moral value cards, name cards, value overview and instructions. Collect index cards for recording your ideas. Make sure you have a timer.
  2. Place your design brief in the middle of the table. Shuffle the value cards and deal one to each player. Take a moment to read what’s on your card. Give each player a stack of empty index cards. Use these to write/draw your ideas; 1 idea per card.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes and start generating ideas, using your value as inspiration. The goal is to make sure your value is represented in the pool of ideas as much as possible. When time is up, place all the ideas face down on a pile. Shuffle the pile.
  4. Take turns presenting an idea. Grab an idea from the pile, making sure no one else can see what’s on the card. Pitch the idea to your fellow players. You can bluff to throw off your fellow players.
  5. Claim an idea by placing your hand in the middle of the table. Whoever is first, gets the idea. The goal is to claim as many ideas with your value in them, without revealing your value.
  6. Once all ideas have been pitched it’s time to count the points. Start by filling in the name card with which value you think each player has. Then the values are revealed. Finally, you go through each player’s ideas and discuss if their value is represented in the idea.

Further Reading

Jet Gispen. 2017. Moral Agent. Accessed: 2020-5-12.