Breaking down barriers with Chain Reaction

Published on Jan 2, 2019 by Alexandra Pett

The Brief

We were approached to design and deliver a team-building exercise for a highly dedicated, intelligent group of 30. Although from the same organisation, they worked across two locations from opposite sides of the globe. This geographic divide meant the group faced communication, language and cultural barriers. They were coming together in one location to complete a rigorous week of training followed by a team development exercise. Considering the nature of the group and the desired outcomes Chain Reaction Table Top was selected as the team building activity for their event.

chain reaction tabletop

What happened on the day?

The participants on entering the room seemed sceptical, tired and disengaged. A room of solo players. They appeared to be unsure as to why they needed to participate. This type of reaction is all too common in our business. We know what to expect. We know how to turn it around. We got to work.

Each team was presented with a game board, a set of idea cards and a box of miscellaneous materials. Their challenge was to work together to prove a butterfly beating its wings on one side of a room can trigger a whirl-wind on the opposite side….

The group was divided into teams who kicked off by discussing the drawings on the cards and sharing their ideas. They then set to work to applying skill, creativity and precision to design, build and test a number of simple machines. Next, each team joined their simple machines together, testing that they flowed from one to the other. Then they joined their contraptions to the next teams and tested again. Effective communication was the key ingredient to ensure that everything went according to plan. Teams realised that if they collaborated on ideas and know-how they could create a better overall contraption.

And the result?

As the time ticked on through the session, we saw barriers break, smiles and energy appear. The group became really engaged and were cross communicating well. Within two hours, the finale saw them come together as one team. They had collaborated well and created an intricate Chain Reaction machine, which worked the first time. The group was thrilled with their creation and feedback attested to the positive outcomes that the program has had on the day to day workings of the group. Another testimony to the power of experiential learning in a relaxed fun environment.

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