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Last Updated on November 5, 2018

22 Team Building Activity for Work That Are Fun and Encourage Creativity

22 Team Building Activity for Work That Are Fun and Encourage Creativity

Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking organizing team-building events. Some activities can fall flat, leaving participants groaning and unwilling to get involved, but when done well, these sessions can add a lot of value to meeting or training – while letting everyone have some fun at the same time.

Here are 22 tried and tested team building activities for work that people will enjoy doing!

Icebreakers and Energy Raisers

These activities are ideal for kicking off a meeting or group training session when people don’t necessarily know all the other members in the group – or to raise energy levels when enthusiasm starts to sag.

1. Compliments

Everybody tapes a sheet of A4 paper onto their backs and the group mingles, introducing themselves to everybody else one by one and having a short conversation of around 30 seconds.

After the short chat, each person writes a secret compliment on their partner’s sheet before moving on to the next person.

At the end, participants read out some of the compliments and try to guess who wrote them.

2. Speed Dating – Things in Common

Everybody sits on two rows of chairs facing each other and must talk to the person in front of them for one minute to try to find three things they both have in common.

After the minute is up, everyone moves along one chair so that each person has a new partner and the activity is repeated.

At the end, participants give feedback about some of the more unusual things in common they discovered.

3. Line up!

A quick, high-energy game to kick off a meeting or training, especially useful first thing in the morning or just after lunch.

Explain that you will call out an instruction and everyone needs to line up as quickly as possible in the order of what you shout out.

Examples can be height, age, length of hair, birthday month and so on. Good for fast communication and interaction. Can also be done in two teams to make it competitive.

4. Memory Game

Everybody in the room has to mingle and speak to every other person for a set amount of time (a minute each is about right).

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When everyone has spoken to everyone else, the group sits in a circle. Going around the circle one person at a time, the group pools all the information they can remember about each person.

5. Guess Facts

Each person takes a sheet of paper and fills it with numbers, words, and drawings representing things that are important to them. Then in groups of about four to six, the other team members should try to guess the significance of each item.

After the group has tried to guess, the person should then reveal what each item means.

6. Three Lies and a Truth

Each person takes turn to tell the group four pieces of information about themselves, three of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the group then asks questions about the four facts to try to guess which one is not true. The person being questioned has to try to lie convincingly.

This is a fun and interactive way to find out some more interesting information about group members than just their names and where they’re from.[1]

7. What’s My Name?

Put a Post-It note or similar on each person’s forehead (or a sheet of paper on their back) with a famous person’s name on it. Participants should then move around the room asking three yes/no questions to each other person they speak to in order to try to work out which famous person’s name they have.

8. The Penny Drops

Place some coins in a pot, one coin for each person in the group. No coin should be older than the youngest member of the group.

Each participant takes a coin from the pot and tells the group about something important that happened to them in the year of that coin.[2]

Short Team Building Exercises

These are good teamwork exercises that don’t take up too much time and require only a minimum of equipment. They can work well after a break to get everyone focused again or as an introduction to the next segment of the training or meeting.

9. Perfect Square

Divide participants into groups and give each group a length of rope that is tied together at the end. Instruct them to form the rope into a circle.

When they are in position, blindfold them all and tell them they now have to make a perfect square.

This exercise is great for working on communication and teamwork.[3]

10. Human Knot

Have everyone stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder and tell them to put out their left hand and grab the hand of someone in front of them. Then do the same with their right hands.

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They will now be tangled up, and the aim of the exercise is to untangle themselves within a set time limit without letting go of the hands they are holding.

Again, good for communication and teamwork.[4]

11. Tent Poles

This exercise needs you to bring a set of tent poles or other similar long, flexible poles to the training room.

Teams of about 6-8 line up and each person puts out one hand at chest level, palm down and with the index finger extended.

The pole is then balanced on their fingers. The objective is to lower it to the ground without anybody’s finger losing contact with the pole.

It’s much more difficult than it sounds and requires clear communication and cooperation.

12. Minefield

A simple exercise to set up, but one that tests communication skills.

Using a rope or similar, lay down a winding path that the person needs to walk along. On the path, put down squeaky dog toys, balloons or anything similar that will act as “mines”.

Team members will be blindfolded and will have to walk along the path avoiding the mines, guided only by their team members’ voices.

13. Reverse Charades

Rather than having one person act out the charade for the group, the group has to act it out for one person to guess.

This can have hilarious results, but also gets people working together and thinking about how to communicate ideas effectively.

14. Electric Fence

Set up an “electric fence” made of a piece of string tied between two chairs just above waist height. The aim of the activity is to get one member of the team over the electric fence (not under!) without touching it. The rule is they must have one hand in contact with at least one team member at all times.

Expect lots of discussion, experimentation, and creativity.

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15. Shipwrecked

Another classic that requires minimal equipment.

Give groups a list of items from which they can only choose five to take onto a desert island. They have to discuss the possibilities and then explain their decisions.

This exercise is very easy to extend with lots of scope for follow up activities – like having them act out the situation, changing team members, telling them they need to choose a team member who “won’t make it” etc. Plenty of room for creativity on the trainer’s part as well as of the participants.

Advanced Problem Solving Team Exercises

These exercises require more time to complete but are great ways to encourage teamwork, communication and creativity – and often identify leadership skills too.

16. Sales Pitch – Coffee Shop Game

This exercise is easy to adapt to your business, but the general idea is that each team of around four people should come up with a business plan and try to sell it to the “investors” (trainers).[5]

The teams are told they need to come up with a business plan for a new independent coffee shop. They have half an hour to make a plan, prepare a presentation and then make a pitch to the investors.

17. Marketing a Product

Similar to the coffee shop idea but using a product. Each group is given a random object and they need to come up with a whole marketing plan and sales pitch for that object. After a certain amount of time, they must present their plan to the group.

This activity doesn’t need to be related to your company’ business – the emphasis is on creativity and teamwork.

18. Escape Room

If you want to take your team outside for a team building activity, an “escape room” challenge is an excellent way to freshen things up and get them working together in teams.

Escape rooms require team members to cooperate to find clues and solve puzzles – and eventually escape from a room.

This activity has become very popular over the last few years and even most small towns will have a location offering it.

19. Think of a Problem

Instead of coming up with all the ideas yourself, have each group come up with an original team building exercise themselves.[6] They should think of all the details of what needs to be done and what the objectives and desired outcomes should be.

After they have finished, you can have another group try the exercise and report back or you can choose the best ones and have all groups try them out at the same time.

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20. Object Improve

Another great activity for creativity, expression, and teamwork.

Take a large bag with a range of random objects inside, the more diverse the better. There should be five objects for each group.

Without looking at what’s in the bag, the team captain takes five objects and returns to his or her group. The team then has ten minutes to prepare a short skit that features all the items. Every team member should have a speaking role.

21. Jumbled Jigsaws

Give each group a jigsaw puzzle and explain that the winner is the team that finishes first.[7] However, some parts of each puzzle are mixed with the other groups’ pieces.

In order to win, they must also find their missing pieces and somehow persuade the other groups to hand them over. How they do this is up to them and they can be creative as they like.

22. Scavenger Hunt

A classic, but one of the best and most adaptable.

Give each team a list of tasks to complete and a time limit within which to complete them. You can choose anything, but try to include a selection of longer tasks, shorter tasks, and tasks that involve them getting up and moving about – and even leaving the room and going outside. They might need to organize themselves into subgroups to complete as many tasks as possible before the time runs out.

Great for teamwork and communication – and also tends to show who the leaders are.

Final Thoughts

The best way to use this list is perhaps not to try to apply the exercises exactly as described here but to try to adapt them to your situation.

After all, you will know who you are working with – be creative with these ideas and you’re sure to find activities that are ideal for your team building needs.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

Creativity also emphasizes values.

“The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

1. Cultivate Focus

In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

How to cultivate focus?

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Take a 20 Minute Walk

Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

2. Build a Structure

When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

How to build a structure?

Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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3. Find Motivation

There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

How to find motivation?

Connect to Your “Why”

Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

How to become an expert?

Make a Mastery Training Plan

Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

3. Review your progress

Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

5. Create a Conducive Environment

A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

“a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

How to create a conducive environment?

Add or Subtract Stimuli

Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

The Bottom Line

Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

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Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

Reference

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