20 Problem Solving Activities for Your Team to Master
Guide your team to be more conscious, so they can be pros at problem-solving no matter what the situation.
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We live in a world where problems are numerous in number and stingier than ever. There are a lot of ethnic, social or other organizational problems among the workforces. As they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, we can see these problems as opportunities in disguise.
Confused? Let us clarify.
Sure, these problems should not be present in this day and age, but since they are still among us, we can guide our team to be more conscious, so they can be pros at problem-solving no matter what it is.
Given below are 20 of the most effective problem-solving games your team can master.
1. A Shrinking Vessel
If your team has been suffering from adaptability issues, then this technique is an amazing way to overcome that obstacle. As we know, Adaptability is deeply connected with cognitive diversity which aids your troops to solve their issues quickly.
You will need a rope or a string for this technique.
- Make a shape on the floor using the rope which should be big enough to fit everyone in.
- Reduce the size of this space over a period of 10-15 minutes.
- The real challenge for the team will be to adapt and figure out how they can work together and keep everyone inside the shrinking boundaries.
2. Ad Game
In this activity, the team has to be positive about any and every suggestion anyone speaks out loud. That means that when anyone gives an idea, everyone has to chant “Yes!” and the activity goes on. This lets all of the group to speak their mind and not face any negativity or counter of any kind, in return.
These ideas can be creative, or it can be stuff just coming right off from the top of their heads. This helps in Communication and Collaboration.
3. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
This technique helps amazingly with collaboration among the team members. Why Collaboration is important? Well in the words of Peter Senge, “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individual”.
This means that we are always more receptive to any type of social or psychological change if we are a part of a collaboration or team.
So, we can solve issues in teams more easily than alone. For that developing the team’s collaborative efforts and skills need to be enhanced for more effective problem-solving outcomes.
For this, you will need 20 sticks of spaghetti that haven’t been cooked, a marshmallow, a single roll of masking tape and a yard of string.
- Keep in mind that the main goal of this game is to find out which team will utilize the materials provided to construct the tallest tower in a specific time period.
- To make it more interesting, you can try adding a marshmallow at the very top of the tower.
- This group problem-solving activity helps the team to think quickly while building a solid foundation of camaraderie and leadership.
4. Brainstorm Ideas
The simplest way to resolve problems in a team is through Brainstorming ideas. This will help your team come up with a lot of solutions on their own and you just have to choose the right path for them.
5. Egg Drop
This technique helps to promote collaboration among the troops with additional decision-making capabilities. How does problem-solving depend on decision making? Well, as we know indecision can make a team immobile with a lot of unresolved problems due to stagnant thinking.
Decision making will help the team be quicker on their feet and create more effective choices.
For this game, you will need a full carton of eggs and construction material like plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, etc.
- Firstly, you will provide an egg to each team and select a random construction material.
- The task for each team is that they have to construct a carrier for the egg and keep it from breaking.
- Once the carriers are completed, drop them off a ledge or over a balcony to see which carrier is the most successful in protecting the eggs.
6. Dumbest Idea First
In this activity, you encourage all of your team members to quickly think of the dumbest ideas they have in their heads in solving a particular problem. Once they have done so, check the list and find out the ideas that are not dumb at all and you can shape that into an effective solution for your problem.
Stranded helps in building effective communication and decision-making foundations among the team members.
Why is it important for teams to communicate with each other for problem-solving? Well, we live in a time where people mostly work remotely, good communication skills on different channels are critical to solving problems.
This is why, when the team starts working on their communications skills being present in one physical space, they will be able to better understand each other when they will be apart.
You just need an office space to perform this activity.
- The setting for this activity is that your team will be stranded in the office space.
- The doors of the room will be locked, and you can’t break down the windows or the doors.
- Your team will be given 30 minutes so that they can choose 10 items that they will need for survival.
- They have top rank the items as well in order of importance.
- The goal of this activity is that each team member has to agree on the 10 items and their ranking under the given time period.
8. End in Mind
This is an amazing activity that lets you backtrack your way into finding a solution. To create the perfect solution, you first have to start off with the end in your mind. The main purpose of this is to move backward.
Establish important milestones and dates that might be useful, in reverse order. These dates have to start with the end-of-project party and finishing with today.
This activity helps with communication. You will need Legos and your team for this activity.
- Your team has to be divided into small teams of two or more people.
- Select an impartial individual that is not on any team to construct a random structure using the Legos in under 10 minutes.
- The teams that are competing in this activity have to recreate that exact structure in under 15 minutes but there’s a catch.
- Only one person from the teams is allowed to see the structure and they have to communicate all of the parameters like the color, shape, and size, to the other team members.
10. Idea Mock-ups
In this activity, you have different solutions for your problems that can be projected via mock-ups. This way you can try out a bunch of solutions for your problem to find the perfect one. You can create a solution using office supplies or even making images from the internet.
This technique helps to increase collaboration among the team members and requires 4 things to be performed. They are:
- Lockable room.
- 5-10 puzzles or clues.
- The expected outcome of this activity is to solve all of the clues to find the key that will unlock the room within the given time.
- You have to hide the key somewhere in the room and also a list of all of the clues that are needed to find the key.
- Gather all of the team members in the room and lock it.
- You can give them 30-60 minutes to find the key to complete the whole activity.
This activity is incredibly fun as it turns your problem into a sort of a game for the whole team to participate in. You can set different types of rules and objectives for the team which they have to follow to earn different skill points that will let them “win the game” aka solving the problem.
This activity helps with Decision Making and Adaptability and requires three things to be performed. They are:
- An electric fan.
- A packet of construction materials like card stock, rubber bands, and sticky notes, etc.
- A blindfold.
The scenario for this activity is:
- Your team is on arctic exploration.
- You have to separate them into different teams comprising of 4-5 members.
- They have to choose a leader among themselves who will lead them on this adventure.
- Each team has to construct a shelter to protect themselves from the storm that will hit in precisely 30 minutes.
- The catch is that the hands of the team leaders’ are unable to work due to frostbite and all other team members are temporarily blind due to snow blindness.
- After the time is up, you can turn on the fan and see whose shelter can endure the high winds of the storm.
14. Be a Character
With this activity, you can add a bit of fun to your work by executing the solution to the problem as if you were an imaginary character. This will give you a different perspective on your solution and whether or not it’s feasible for other members of the team.
15. Reverse Pyramid
This technique helps with Adaptability and Collaboration.
- Firstly, your team has to be standing in a pyramid shape.
- The next step is to flip the base and apex of the pyramid, but you can only move three people.
- This encourages adaptability and collaboration among the troops.
16. Word on the Street
This is a useful technique where you can experience different perspectives on the solution you came up with for the problem your team has been facing. You will interview members of the team about the solution and get to know how they feel about it.
17. Move It!
Move It also helps with adaptability and Collaboration among the team members and requires an item that can mark a space. That can be chalk, paper, tape or a rope.
- You have to first split the whole group into two teams and line them up in such a way from front to back that they should face each other.
- Using the space marking the item, draw an area for each person to stand on.
- You have to leave on extra space between the two facing rows.
- The main objective of this activity is that the two lines of players that are facing each other have to switch places.
There are some restrictions that have to be put on the movement though. They are:
- Only one individual is allowed to move at a time.
- An individual can not move around anyone if they are facing in the same direction as them.
- Moving backward is not allowed.
- An individual can move only once at a time around the people from the other team.
18. Idea Trial
Another fun activity that you can do to find out solutions for a particular problem is to have mock trials about your problem. You can have different or all members of the team come up and project their ideas in “court”. They will go through their opening and closing statements and also call witnesses to support their ideas.
19. Human Knot
This technique also helps with Adaptability and Collaboration.
- Firstly, your team has to be standing in a circle.
- Ask every team member to hold hands with the people that aren’t directly next to them.
- When everyone is cross-connected, ask them to untangle this whole structure and form a proper circle without letting go of anyone’s hand.
20. Find the Funny
The final activity on the list is the most fun one and that is creating a monologue that covers the main aspects of the problem or some funny moments that happened during all of the activities. Share them with your team and make them feel relaxed.
Organizational cultures are complete mayhem nowadays with different problems haunting the teams daily. These problems have a profound effect on the team’s performance which can delay the company to achieve its goals. This is why it’s very important that you work with your team and choose the activities that are described in this piece so that they can get the work done while having fun.
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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