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Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master
By Brianna Hansen , May 27, 2022 - 10 min read
Some people see problems as roadblocks, others see them as opportunities! Problem-solving activities are a great way to get to know how members of your team work, both individually and together. It’s important to teach your team strategies to help them quickly overcome obstacles in the way of achieving project goals.
In this article, you’ll explore 15 problem-solving activities designed to enhance collaboration and creativity. Additionally, if you want to discuss the insights and outcomes with your team after the activities, you can use Wrike’s actionable meeting notes template. This template allows you to record meeting discussions, assign action items, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
The importance of problem-solving skills in today’s workplace
According to a 2019 report by McKinsey , soft skills are increasingly important in today's world — and problem-solving is the top area in which skills are lacking. A company or team’s success weighs heavily on the willingness of managers to help employees improve their problem-solving abilities. Team building activities targeting focus areas like communication and collaboration, adaptability, or strengthening decision-making techniques help.
All problem-solving processes start with identifying the problem. Next, the team must assess potential courses of action and choose the best way to tackle the problem. This requires a deep understanding of your team and its core strengths. A problem-solving exercise or game helps identify those strengths and builds problem-solving skills and strategies while having fun with your team.
Problem-solving games aren't for just any team. Participants must have an open mind and accept all ideas and solutions . They must also have an Agile mindset and embrace different structures, planning, and processes. Problems usually arise when we least expect them, so there's no better way to prepare than to encourage agility and flexibility.
Another aspect to keep in mind when engaging in problem-solving games and activities: There are no winners or losers. Sure, some games might end with a single winner, but the true goal of these exercises is to learn how to work together as a team to develop an Agile mindset. The winning team of each game should share their strategies and thought processes at the end of the exercise to help everyone learn.
Here’s a list of fun problem-solving activity examples to try with your team. From blindfolds to raw eggs, these problem-solving, team-building activities will have your team solving problems faster than Scooby and the gang.
Classic team-building, problem-solving activities
1. a shrinking vessel.
Helps with: Adaptability
Why adaptability is important for problem-solving: Adaptability is highly associated with cognitive diversity, which helps teams solve problems faster , according to the Harvard Business Review. Innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before . People, teams, and organizations that can adapt will come out on top.
What you’ll need:
- A rope or string
1. Using the rope, make a shape on the floor everyone can fit into.
2. Slowly shrink the space over 10-15 minutes.
3. Work together to figure out how to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.
2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
Helps with: Collaboration
Why collaboration is important for problem-solving: “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually,” writes Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline . We can solve problems better as a team than we can alone, which means developing your team’s collaboration skills will lead to better problem-solving outcomes.
What you’ll need (per team):
- 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 yard of string
- 1 marshmallow
1. The goal of this exercise is to see which team can use the materials provided to build the tallest tower within an allotted time period. The tower must be able to stand on its own.
2. To make this exercise more challenging, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower. This team problem-solving exercise helps people think on their toes while building camaraderie and leadership.
3. Egg Drop
Helps with: Collaboration, decision-making
Why decision-making is important for problem-solving: Making decisions isn’t easy , but indecision leads to team paralysis, stagnant thinking, and unsolved problems. Decision-making activities help your team practice making quick, effective choices. Train your team’s decision-making muscles and they will become more adept at problem-solving.
- A carton of eggs
- Basic construction materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc., tarp, or drop cloth
- A parking lot, or some other place you don’t mind getting messy!
1. Each team gets an egg and must select from the construction materials.
2. Give everyone 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier for the egg and protect it from breaking.
3. Drop each egg carrier off a ledge (i.e. over a balcony) and see whose carrier protects the egg from breaking.
4. If multiple eggs survive, keep increasing the height until only one egg is left.
Helps with: Communication, decision-making
Why communication is important for problem-solving: More employees work remotely than ever before. Good communication skills are vital to solving problems across virtual teams . Working on communication skills while your team is together will help them solve problems more effectively when they’re apart.
Here's the setting: Your team has been stranded in the office. The doors are locked, and knocking down the doors or breaking the windows is not an option. Give your team 30 minutes to decide on ten items in the office they need for survival and rank them in order of importance. The goal of the game is to have everyone agree on the ten items and their rankings in 30 minutes.
Creative problem-solving activities
Helps with: Communication
What you'll need:
1. Divide everyone into small teams of two or more.
2. Select an overseer who isn't on a team to build a random structure using Lego building blocks within ten minutes.
3. The other teams must replicate the structure exactly (including size and color) within 15 minutes. However, only one member from each group may look at the original structure. They must figure out how to communicate the size, color, and shape of the original structure to their team.
4. If this is too easy, add a rule that the member who can see the original structure can't touch the new structure.
- A lockable room
- 5-10 puzzles or clues (depending on how much time you want to spend on the game)
1. The goal of this exercise is to solve the clues, find the key, and escape a locked room within the time allotted.
2. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room.
3. Gather the team into the empty room and "lock" the door.
4. Give them 30 minutes to an hour to find the key using the clues hidden around the room.
Helps with: Decision-making, adaptability
- A blindfold
- 1 packet of construction materials (such as card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team
- An electric fan
Instructions: Your employees are Arctic explorers adventuring across an icy tundra! Separate them into teams of four or five and have them select a leader to guide their exploration. Each team must build a shelter from the materials provided before the storm hits in 30 minutes. However, both the team leader’s hands have frostbite, so they can’t physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the fan and see which shelter can withstand the high winds of the storm.
- An empty room or hallway
- A collection of common office items
1. Place the items (boxes, chairs, water bottles, bags, etc.) around the room so there's no clear path from one end of the room to the other.
2. Divide your team into pairs and blindfold one person on the team.
3. The other must verbally guide that person from one end of the room to the other, avoiding the "mines."
4. The partner who is not blindfolded can't touch the other.
5. If you want to make the activity more challenging, have all the pairs go simultaneously so teams must find ways to strategically communicate with each other.
9. Blind Formations
1. Have the group put on blindfolds and form a large circle.
2. Tie two ends of a rope together and lay it in a circle in the middle of the group, close enough so each person can reach down and touch it.
3. Instruct the group to communicate to create a shape with the rope — a square, triangle, rectangle, etc.
4. If you have a very large group, divide them into teams and provide a rope for each team. Let them compete to see who forms a particular shape quickest.
Quick and easy problem-solving activities
10. line up blind.
1. Blindfold everyone and whisper a number to each person, beginning with one.
2. Tell them to line up in numerical order without talking.
3. Instead of giving them a number, you could also have them line up numerically by height, age, birthday, etc.
11. Reverse Pyramid
Helps with: Adaptability, collaboration
1. Have everyone stand in a pyramid shape, horizontally.
2. Ask them to flip the base and the apex of the pyramid moving only three people.
3. This quick exercise works best when smaller groups compete to see who can reverse the pyramid the fastest.
12. Move It!
- Chalk, rope, tape, or paper (something to mark a space)
1. Divide your group into two teams and line them up front to back, facing each other.
2. Using the chalk, tape, rope, or paper (depending on the playing surface), mark a square space for each person to stand on. Leave one extra empty space between the two facing rows.
3. The goal is for the two facing lines of players to switch places.
4. Place these restrictions on movement:
- Only one person may move at a time.
- A person may not move around anyone facing the same direction.
- No one may not move backward.
- A person may not move around more than one person on the other team at a time.
13. Human Knot
1. Have everyone stand in a circle, and ask each person to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.
2. When everyone is tangled together, ask them to untangle the knot and form a perfect circle — without letting go of anyone's hand.
Our last two problem-solving activities work best when dealing with an actual problem:
14. Dumbest Idea First
Helps with: Instant problem-solving
1. "Dumb" ideas are sometimes the best ideas. Ask everyone to think of the absolute dumbest possible solution to the problem at hand.
2. After you have a long list, look through it and see which ones might not be as dumb as you think.
3. Brainstorm your solutions in Wrike. It's free and everyone can start collaborating instantly!
15. What Would X Do
1. Have everyone pretend they're someone famous.
2. Each person must approach the problem as if they were their chosen famous person. What options would they consider? How would they handle it?
3. This allows everyone to consider solutions they might not have thought of originally.
Looking for more team-building and virtual meeting games? Check out these virtual icebreaker games or our Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities that Don't Suck.
Additional resources on problem-solving activities
- Problem-Solving Model : Looking for a model to provide a problem-solving structure? This detailed guide gives you the tools to quickly solve any problem.
- The Simplex Process: Popularized by Min Basadur's book, The Power of Innovation , the Simplex Process provides training and techniques for each problem-solving stage. It helps frame problem-solving as a continuous cycle, rather than a “one and done” process.
- Fun Problem-Solving Activities and Games : Looking for more ideas? Check out this list of interesting and creative problem-solving activities for adults and kids!
- The Secret to Better Problem-Solving: This article provides tips, use cases, and fresh examples to help you become a whiz at solving the toughest problems.
How to organize problem-solving activities with Wrike
If you want to make problem-solving activities more effective, consider using team collaboration software such as Wrike.
Wrike’s pre-built actionable meeting notes template helps you keep track of meeting discussions, assign action items, and keep everyone in the loop. It’s an effective tool to streamline your problem-solving sessions and turn insights into real projects.
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Problem Solving Activities to Improve Team Creativity
“Every problem has a solution. You just have to be creative enough to find it.” – Travis Kalanick
Problem-solving is a skill that undoubtedly comes into play to improve creativity, execute and deliver projects delightfully. Strong problem-solving skills to improve creativity is a crucial asset for any team. Whether you’re a manager or fresher, easy problem-solving tactics will help you glide over tough decision-making faster and approach problems smartly.
For example, in project management, your team might find itself questioning things like “How would we handle tight deadlines while maintaining the quality consistently?” or “How do we ensure that we effectively track progress on multiple projects?”.
These are common challenges that are bound to arise on the job. However, being prepared and having the ability to handle difficult or unexpected situations is what will guide you to the end.
Luckily, there are many ways to develop problem-solving skills to create innovative solutions. Here’s how one can rewire the brain for problem solving and creativity. Let’s start with the basics!
What Are Problem Solving Activities?
Simply put, problem-solving activities are activities that help in building the capability to solve problems and overcome challenges. While finding effective solutions to complex problems isn’t easy, a step-by-step process of solving the problem at hand ensures that you implement the most effective solution.
One can resolve almost any problem by using the right techniques learned through various problem-solving exercises. All processes of problem-solving begin with identifying and defining the problem. Thereafter, one evaluates the possible course of action and selects the best approach for solving the problem.
For example, if you are starting an online store and have listed down all possible problems that can arise in the process, with the right problem-solving techniques you cannot only eliminate those issues but also can bring out the best possible solution to help you scale and grow.
Problem-solving activities are highly sought-after activities that help in imbibing key problem-solving skills.
Let’s take a look at these skills.
- Analytical skills
- Adaptability, Quick thinking ability
- Logical reasoning
- Communication skills
- Perseverance, Motivation skills
- Team skills
- Decision-making skills, Leadership skills
- Visual perception skills
- Critical thinking skills, Negotiation skills
Read More: Excel in Project Execution With These 5 Surefire Tips
The Importance of Developing Problem Solving Skills in Today’s Workplace
You may question: How will I benefit from developing problem-solving skills in my team members? Are these skills important for my team to attain business goals?
Well, have you ever found yourself saying, “Let’s think outside the box for this project” to your team? We are certain that you have, and that is exactly why you need to understand what it takes to level up your team’s ability to convert problems into actionable solutions for the team to succeed together. After all, company performance is closely tied to improving team members’ problem-solving skills.
Good problem-solving skills encourage quick and creative thinking, leading to better decision-making and ultimately increased company growth. Teams and leaders who approach problems thoughtfully perform better and find realistic solutions.
Let’s take a step back and understand ‘ What it takes ?’ to level up your team’s ability to convert problems into actionable solutions.
The secret to a thriving business lies in solving problems effectively. This is where good teams outshine the mediocre ones, isn’t it?
So how do the good teams do it?
Good teams approach problems in a fresh and creative manner at every step of the way. They have learned how to generate ideas and come up with out-of-the-box solutions.
Guess what they have mastered?
Yes, problem-solving skills!
Here are a few advantages that you should expect from your teams that have acquired problem-solving skills:
1. Better risk handling
Managing risk means acknowledging that undesired or uncertain events may occur at any stage of the process. Problem-solving skills help in being confident of your capability to turn risks into opportunities by going beyond the expected.
2. Better communication
Problem-solving skills equip you with solving issues in a way that minimizes accusations and brings about a resolution regarding the problem. This efficient approach helps foster intra-team communication eventually leading to better understanding.
3. Improved productivity output
Adopting problem-solving techniques at the workplace has a positive impact on total productivity . Problem-solving skills help in implementing solutions in an effective and timely manner without any hindrance.
4. A proactive mindset
A proactive mindset enables identifying and executing the solution to a specific problem. Defining, generating, evaluating, and selecting the best solution is possible only when one has mastered the problem-solving skill.
Remember that not all problems are the same. Moreover, it is unlikely that the same solution will work each time for a particular problem. Scope and type of problems will vary according to the size, type, and goals of an organization. Likewise, solutions will be different for each. Thus, problem-solving skills are absolutely invaluable at the workplace.
20 Fun Problem Solving Activities to Improve Creativity
Problem-solving activities help in developing the skill of problem-solving by practicing exercises to equip a team or an individual with a convincing ability to handle and overcome problems and challenges. The below activities guide through the set of actions, approaches, and processes that one should undertake for devising strategies for solving a problem creatively.
1. Dumbest Idea First
Helps With: Creative problem solving
Why is creative problem solving important for problem-solving?
Creative problem solving allows you to relax your assumptions and approach a problem in an imaginative, unconventional way. The skill focuses on divergent thinking, thus redefining problem-solving.
What you’ll need: Nothing!
Yes, this is an important activity for problem-solving. Encourage everyone to voice the absolute random and dumb solution to the problem in front of them. Who knows, you might just get an idea that can be shaped into an effective solution.
Come to think of it, most successful start-up ideas once seemed like the dumbest!
Helps With: Analytical skill
Why is an analytical skill important for problem-solving?
Analytical skill helps in assessing information and finding solutions using knowledge, facts, and data. This skill ensures that any solutions you implement are backed up logically and have been adequately thought out.
To apply this rule, explain your problem in 40 words. Cut it down to 20, then to 10, and finally to 5 words. This 5-word problem statement is the root of your problem and maybe even the solution!
3. Brainstorm Ideas
Helps With: Lateral Thinking
Why is Lateral Thinking important for problem-solving?
Lateral Thinking involves generating ideas using an indirect and creative approach that is not immediately obvious. It deals in insight restructuring and consciously coming up with alternative solutions for the given problem.
Brainstorming ideas is a powerful and one of the best problem-solving activities to get your team’s creative juices flowing.
The purpose of this activity is to produce as many new and creative ideas as possible.
Once the list of ideas is ready, you can then go on to explore the feasibility of each idea to arrive at the most suitable one.
Helps With: Perseverance, Motivation skill
Why is perseverance important for problem-solving?
Perseverance is being absolute in purpose to continue in the pursuit of an idea or a goal despite setbacks and roadblocks. The quality is a given if you wish to develop the skill of problem-solving.
Why is motivation skill important for problem-solving?
Motivational skills can be defined as actions or strategies that elicit a desired behavior or response. To solve a problem, deriving self-motivation to get to the core of the problem is foremost.
We all have heard the phrase, “Work Hard, Play harder”. Guess it’s time to incorporate it into your work routine!
Gamification will turn ‘work’ into an entertaining and fun activity. You are required to set different types of rules and objectives for the team which they have to follow to earn desirable rewards that will let them win the game or should we say, solve the problem?
5. Shrinking Vessel
Helps With: Adaptability, Quick thinking ability
Why is adaptability important for problem-solving?
Organizations that can adapt quickly have an obvious advantage over their competitors as they have conditioned themselves to effortlessly adapt to changing circumstances while facing problems.
Why is quick thinking ability important for problem-solving?
If you are a quick thinker, that means that you act on problems easily, while being efficient and accurate in thought.
What you’ll need: A Rope/String
A Shrinking Vessel is a problem-solving activity with a simple concept. The idea is that you are in a situation of a sinking ship.
There is a predetermined space for the activity and the teams are divided equally. The entire team must work together to occupy a space, marked with a rope/string, that shrinks over time. It is the perfect game to bond with your teammates and craft a stellar creative strategy to be the last one standing.
6. Egg Drop Idea
Helps With: Logical reasoning
Why is logical reasoning important for problem-solving?
Logical reasoning measures your ability to reason logically by observing and analyzing circumstances. Logical reasoning aids in arriving at a rational conclusion about how to proceed.
What you’ll need: newspaper, plastic wrap, cotton, socks, and a handkerchief
The egg drop project involves designing a package or a container with everyday items that will keep an egg intact when dropped from a height.
Sounds fascinating, right?
It sure is! You can use whatever items or construction material you find around you and deem fit to save an egg. Some items that you may find around easily are newspaper, plastic wrap, cotton, socks, and handkerchief.
Reach out for these and more to save your egg!
Helps With: Communication
Why is communication important for problem-solving?
Being an effective communicator is essential to succeed and progress at the workplace. This is because one needs to successfully communicate ideas and recommendations for daily tasks and projects.
What you’ll need: Lego pieces
This is one of the most interesting team-building activities. This activity is all about observation and retention of design. For this activity, select an impartial individual to construct a random figurine using Legos in under 5 minutes.
Next, the competing teams have to replicate this structure in 10 minutes.
Sounds easy, right? Well, there’s a catch!
Only one person is allowed to look at the figurine at a time. The person has to then communicate the parameters like size, shape, color, etc. to his/her team members. Now, that’s some team-building activity!
Helps With: Decision-making skill
Why is decision-making skill important for problem-solving?
Problem-solving and decision-making skills go hand in hand at work. Decision-making is an ongoing process in every organization whether big or small. Decision-making skills help in choosing between two or more alternatives to arrive at the best solution to implement.
What you’ll need: A room that can be locked
The setting is that your team will be locked in a room and will be given 30 minutes to choose 10 items that they will need for survival. Also, the items have to be chronologically listed.
9. Reverse the Pyramid
Helps With: Adaptability, Collaboration
Having adaptability skills means embracing problems with optimism. Adaptability reflects your willingness to respond to changing circumstances.
Why is collaboration important for problem-solving?
In the words of Peter Senge, “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individual”.
Collaboration facilitates the free exchange of ideas, knowledge, perspectives, and experiences leading to enhanced innovation.
This is one of the best problem-solving exercises for teams.
Make a team. Ask everyone to stand in the shape of a pyramid. Next, ask them to flip the base and the apex moving only 3 people.
Whichever team moves and forms the reverse pyramid fastest wins the activity.
10. Word on the Street
Helps With: Team skills
Why are team skills important for problem-solving?
Building strong team skills enables team members to come together for a common purpose. Employing team skills for problem-solving is a hallmark of high-performing teams.
It’s a fairly simple technique that involves interviewing all team members to gain their perspective on the solution that has been arrived at for a specific problem.
11. Human Knot
Helps With: Collaboration, Communication skills
Why are communication skills important for problem-solving?
When teams come together to solve a problem, no problem is big enough. Together, a team can overcome even the most difficult of obstacles. Active listening skills are an important element of communication skills.
Get ready for an entertaining problem-solving group activity!
Make everyone stand in a circle. Next, ask each one to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly standing next to them.
Now, ask them to untangle themselves and form a circle without letting go of anyone’s hand. Believe us, it’s going to be super fun watching them twist and turn to form the perfect circle.
12. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
Helps With: Collaboration
What you’ll need: Uncooked spaghetti, 1 marshmallow, tape, and a string/thin rope
In this activity, you simply have to make the tallest tower within the set amount of time.
You’re given a handful of supplies to work with. Your task is to build the tallest free-standing tower that supports a marshmallow at the top of the tower! You’re given 18 minutes to complete the challenge.
Helps With: Team skill, Trust
Why is trust important for problem-solving?
A well-analyzed solution will fail if the team lacks trust while implementing the solution. Building trust within the team is the first step towards problem-solving.
What you’ll need: An empty room, blindfolds, common office items like table, chair, bag, bottle
Place some objects like a table, chair, bag, bottle, etc. on the floor to act as obstacles in this activity.
Divide teams into pairs and blindfold one of them. The person who is not blindfolded has to verbally guide the person in blindfolds to the other end of the room, avoiding the ‘mines’.
14. Bonding Belt
Helps With: Cooperation
Why is cooperation important for problem-solving?
Cooperation for problem-solving means being part of a cooperative team that identifies and listens to each other’s perspectives on the proposed solution and works together as a team.
What you’ll need: A firm rope
Make teams of 5-6 people. Tie them together by a firm rope, tightly wrapped around their waists. Ask them to move as one unit from point A to point B in as short a time as possible. The teams have to ensure they stay ‘bonded’ as one unit.
Helps With: Decision-making skill, Leadership skill
Why is leadership skill important for problem-solving?
Leadership involves keeping the team aligned, energized, and focused on a common business goal. The ability to stimulate, challenge, and inspire others to devise creative solutions is what adds up to leadership skills .
What you’ll need: An electric fan, a packet of construction materials like card stock, rubber bands, and sticky notes, etc, a blindfold
The scenario for this creative problem-solving activity is that your team is on arctic exploration. You have to separate everyone into different teams of 4-5 members. Each team will choose a leader among themselves who will lead them on this activity. The teams have to construct a shelter to protect themselves from the storm that will hit in precisely 30 minutes. The catch is that the team leaders will not work as they can’t move their hands due to frostbite. Further, 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. Come on, let’s see which team withstands the snowstorm!
16. Idea Mock-Up
Helps With: Analytical skill, Decision making skill
In this activity, the solutions to your problems are supposed to be projected via mock-ups to ascertain the best solution for the given problem. This enables receiving the most accurate feedback on the proposed solutions.
17. Futures Wheel
Helps With: Visual perception skill
Why is visual perception skill important for problem-solving?
Visual perception skills are the ability to make sense of what the eyes see. It involves organizing and interpreting the information and giving it meaning.
What you’ll need: Pen and paper
If you’re looking to explore the structural consequences of a proposed solution, then this activity is your best bet.
You start with writing the name of the topic in the center. Next, you form the first layer of the wheel with consequences to the solutions. In the next layer, you may go deep into the consequences of these consequences themselves. Jot these down in the order of importance. Analyze each aspect and complete this activity within a time period of about 30 minutes.
This visual technique will make it easier for you to outline the best method to go ahead with to attain the desired outcome.
18. Be a Character
Helps With: Initiative
Why is initiative important for problem-solving?
Taking initiative is the ability to independently assess problems and initiate action to attain solutions. It is a self-management skill and requires rational persistence to be able to solve a problem successfully.
Fancied being an imaginary character from a movie or block? Or just fancied being a famous personality?
Well, now is the time to bring out your inner persona and approach the given problem with the outlook and the perspective of the character or person who you’ve always admired. Embody the character for 15 minutes and see how you approach the situation at hand.
19. End in Mind
According to Dr. Stephen R. Covey, all things are created twice – first in the mind and then in the real world.
Logical reasoning helps you reason through ideas and decisions following a series of steps to conclude. This approach leads to efficient problem-solving.
The end in mind activity allows you to question the ‘What’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ of any problem. It brings purpose and clarity to the solution you seek. You basically backtrack your way into finding a solution.
20. Stop, Start, Continue
Helps With: Critical thinking skill, Negotiation skill
Why is critical thinking important for problem-solving?
Critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively share thoughts and make justifiable decisions. The skill includes analyzing information and formulating creative solutions to complex problems.
Why is negotiation skill important for problem-solving?
Having negotiation skills does not mean that you give in or instantly compromise every time someone disagrees with you. Having this skill means demonstrating open-mindedness to prospects and team members. Active listening is crucial to develop this skill.
A Stop, Start, Continue Approach is a feedback framework made up of three things that a team should stop doing, three things that a team should start doing, and three things that a team should continue doing as they move forward to achieve their problem-solving objectives.
The purpose of the above-listed activities is to train your mind to think about how to solve a problem in new ways and for greater success. The purpose is also to have some fun through these activities while upgrading your skills.
Read More: How to Solve Project Management Problems in The Modern Workplace
The 10-Step Process of Problem Solving Ability
This simple 10-step process will guide you in solving problems to improve creativity.
- Define the Problem
- Analyze the Problem
- Specify Underlying Causes
- Brainstorm Ideas
- List Possible Solutions
- Create Solution Mock-Ups
- Measure the Business Impact
- Establish the Best Possible Solution
- Implement the Solution
- Evaluate Progress
Read More: 16 Best Project Management Softwares for Creative Teams
The Four P’s to Problem Solving
The problem-solving process is cyclic in nature. This is because there are bound to arise new problems while managing a project that accordingly demands new solutions.
This is where you measure, understand, and diagnose the problem that you wish to solve. The activities 40-20-10-5 and Dumbest idea first help in initiating a problem-solving process.
This is where you organize everything and generate possibilities through activities like Brainstorming and Word of mouth .
This is where you visualize and execute your plan. Activities like Futures wheel and Stop, start, continue fall in this stage of problem-solving.
This is where you analyze the solution and check for further improvement. Stranded and Shrinking Vessel are the activities that develop decision-making skills leading to problem-solving.
Face Challenges Head-on With Quick and Easy Problem Solving Activities
Doesn’t it look like it’s all under control now? Well, to be perfectly honest, it takes time and practice to be an effective problem solver.
The way we approach problems at the workplace can be improved by indulging in proven activities that help build problem-solving skills to improve creativity.
Once you have covered the basics of how to go about the problem-solving process and have a can-do mindset, we are sure that there is absolutely nothing that can deter you from confronting problems head-on.
The listed activities are the easiest mechanism to follow to master the skill of effective problem-solving at the workplace. This course of action will enable you to exert full control towards sure shot success in improving creativity with constructive problem-solving activities.
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About the author
David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in elearningindustry.com , simpleprogrammer.com . As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency. Connect with David for more engaging conversations on Twitter , LinkedIn , and Facebook .
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20 Problem Solving Activities to Improve Creativity
Creative problem solving requires creative problem solving activities. Even if you know all of the problem solving steps , it’s important to know exercises to actually execute each phase. These exercises are techniques on how to improve problem solving skills and the art of problem solving.
Listed below are 20 interactive exercises that will help you through each step of the problem solving process.
Problem Solving Activities
Note: For the sake of demonstration, we use the same example for each exercise, in this case, the difficult problem of opening a jar of peanut butter (to make a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich of course).
Step 1: Define the Problem
Problem solving activities that help you phrase and understand the problem you are trying to solve:
#1. Newspaper Headline – Try writing your problem as if it were a headline in a newspaper. You can write it as if the problem still exists, or as if the problem were already solved. Try Tabloid headlines for even more creative ideas.
Example: “Local man attempts to provide joy to the world by opening a jar of peanut butter.”
#2. Future Party – Imagine it’s one year from today; what did you solve in the last year? How is the world different based on the solution? What were the steps you took to solve the problem?
Example: “I can’t believe it’s been a year since we ate all the peanut butter from that crazy tight jar.”
#3. 40-20-10-5 – Explain your problem in up to 40 words. Then cut it down to 20 words; then to 10, then finally to only 5 words. These 5 words are the root of your problem (and likely the root of your solution as well).
Example: (Starting at 10 words) “I want to open up this jar of peanut butter.” -> “Open this peanut butter jar.”
#4. Explain Life I’m Five – Explain your problem as if you were talking to a 5-year old kid. Use basic language and simple metaphors if necessary. Inspired by the subreddit ELI5 .
Example: “There’s yummy-ness in this jar that I want to get out.”
Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas
Problem solving activities that help you generate a list of possible solutions that will solve your problem*:
#5. Ad Game – Have people mill about the room. When someone offers up an idea, everyone emphatically says “Yes!” and then the group continues to generate ideas, often building off the last idea that was just offered.
Example: “We should use a tool to open this jar.” “Yes!” “And it should not hurt our hands.” “Yes!” “And it’ll be nearly effortless.” “Yes!”
#6. Dumbest Idea First – Hold a contest to get the dumbest idea out first. Encourage everyone to think of the absolute dumbest possible solutions to the problem. After you have a long list, go back through and see which ones may not be all that dumb.
Example: “Let’s open it using C4 explosives.”
#7. What Would X Do – Pretend you’re someone famous (or someone you admire) and ask yourself how they would solve the problem, what options would they consider?
Example: (as Gandhi) “I will go on a hunger strike until the jar is ready to be open.”
#8. 10x10x10 Matrix – Generate a list of 10 ideas for solving the problem. Pick one of those ideas and generate 10 variations of that idea. Pick one idea from the new list and generate 10 more variations.
Example: (with just 5 ideas): –Round 1 (based on tools)–Dynamite, Power Drill, Vise grip, Scissors, Hammer. –Round 2 (based on vise grip)–Metal clamp, Pliers, Glue, Cement, Sticky Glove. –Round 3 (based on sticky glove)–Lots of tapping, Rubbing the seal, Punching, Soft caresses, Really strong hand.
*Note: Some of the exercises may not produce the perfect solution, but they can get you thinking differently.
Step 3: Decide on a Solution
Problem solving activities that help you narrow your list of possible solutions down to the best solution.
#9. Futures Wheel – Pick a possible solution and write it in the center of a piece of paper. List possible direct results/consequences of the solution around the center idea. List possible indirect results/consequences based on the direct results/consequences. Find more info here .
Example: Really strong hand leads to: ability to open other types of jars as well, big forearms, possible blisters, …
#10. Thiagi’s 35 – Use a point system to determine the preferred solution among your team, turning a possibly subjective discussion into an objective group decision. You can find a more detailed explanation on Thiagi’s site .
Example: Really strong hand – 7pts. Punching the jar – 3pts. A soft caress – 1pts.
#11. Idea Trial – When you can’t get agreement on which solution to choose, have the proponents of each idea represent them in “court.” Go through opening arguments, call witnesses and allow closing statements. Have the project board choose the winner.
Example: “Really strong hand, is it true you could also be used for terrible things, such as opening a can of sardines?”
#12. Coin-Flip – When deciding between two equally good solutions, flip a coin. When the coin is in the air, take note of what you secretly hope the result is and go with that (if you really can’t decide between the two, then go with the actual result of the coin-flip). Inspired by this poster.
Example: Heads is strong hands, tails is a soft cares. *Toss.* (I really don’t want to have to caress this jar of peanut butter…) Strong hands it is!
Step 4: Implement the Solution
Problem solving activities that help you implement the solution you have chosen:
#13. End in Mind – To create your plan, start with the end in mind and work backwards. Establish key milestones and dates in reverse order, starting with the end-of-project celebration and ending with today.
Example: Eat delicious PB&J sandwich (5pm), Make delicious PB&J sandwich (4:58pm), Open Peanut Butter Jar (4:57pm), Build up grip strength (4:47), …
#14. Idea Mock-ups – Create a mock-up of the solution. You can a create physical mock-up using the various supplies in your office or a virtual mock-up using images from around the web.
Example: Tell me you wouldn’t buy this incredible product .
#15. Gamification – Turn the completion of your project into a game. Establish rules for how you earn points, create badges to celebrate milestones and track game progress. Learn more about gamification .
Example: For each squeeze of the PB Gripper, you get 1 point. 100 points earns you the Gripper Badge, 500 points earns you a pudding cup. After 1,000 points you should be able to open the Peanut Butter jar.
#16. Be a Character – Add some fun to your work by executing your plan as if you were a fictional character. Think about how they would operate and get into character.
Example: (as the Incredible Hulk): HULK SMASH!
Step 5: Review the Results
Problem solving activities that help you review the results you achieved and the way you achieved them:
#17. Apply McLuhan – Answer McLuhan’s tetrad of questions in context of your solution: 1) What does your solution enhance? 2) What does it make obsolete? 3) What does it bring back that was once obsolete and 4) What does it flip into when taken to the extreme?
Example: Using a strong grip to open the jar: 1) The ability to get peanut butter, 2) Other tools for opening jars, 3) The joy of cooking my own food, 4) Only eating peanut butter and nothing else.
#18. Word on the Street – Conduct “word-on-the-street” type interviews with members of your team, asking them how they felt about the project and the solution.
Example: “Sir, what’s your opinion on this new development on the ability to consume delicious peanut butter?”
#19. Stop-Start-Continue – Review the way you completed your project and pick activities you should stop (things you did on this project that you don’t think are necessary for future projects), start (things you didn’t do on this project but that you should do on future projects) and continue (things you did on the project that you should do on future projects).
Example: STOP doing every single exercise for one solution. START finding snacks to eat while waiting to get to the solution. CONTINUE eating peanut butter.
#20. Find the Funny – Write a monologue or stand-up set that covers some of the funny moments or ideas from the project. Share it with your team.
Example: What’s the deal with airline peanut butter?
Creative Problem Solving
The purpose of the above problem solving activities is to get you to think about the problem in a different way and have some fun while solving it–both of which will enhance your creativity in finding and implementing a solution. And as Einstein ( probably ) said:”The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
Note: The example used may be a bit facetious but these exercises do work for tougher problems. I wanted to include an example to facilitate understanding and it happened to be around snack time.
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Thanks for sharing this article.
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Would you allow us to translate this (in Hungarian and Romanian) and use it in our class?
very good. on point!
i am a student doing my certificate in archives and records management, i hope this will help me and i think you too can help in in your class
can I use this for my class?
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Top 10 problem solving group activities to work effectively as a team
Josh Gillespie Director of Enterprise Sales at PandaDoc
To work effectively as a team, you need to learn how to overcome obstacles your team encounters.
And while you may find that team-building games can help build cohesion and communication in your team, you’ll also find that problem solving skills are equally as important in leveling up your team’s ability to achieve goals, address issues, and succeed together.
Teams must learn to observe problems critically and find all the possible ways around them, rather than getting stuck in the details or making excuses.
Great businesses have to solve both their customer’s problems and their own internal issues on a regular basis.
Problem solving has been linked to company performance.
Good problem solving skills lead to better decision making, which can improve performance and lead to company growth.
Teams and leaders who can learn how to solve problems in an orderly, planned fashion tend to perform better than those who cannot.
Luckily, the problem solving process is a learnable skill.
While some people are naturally better at it than others, everyone can learn the process of solving problems by thinking critically.
One very effective method for teaching this skill is through problem solving group activities.
How do problem-solving games work?
Problem solving games help teams break a problem down into five5 distinct stages:
Going through this problem solving process helps a team learn basic strategies they can then apply to real-world problems.
By gamifying the process , you’re allowing teams to work out the concepts and apply appropriate strategies in a controlled environment.
The benefits of problem-solving icebreakers for adults
Firstly, problem-solving icebreakers serve as effective introductions.
They’re much more engaging than simply listening to everyone in the group stating their names, and help avoid the awkward “think of an interesting fact about yourself”, too.
When done well, icebreakers are a fun start to any group session, and get everyone ready to start collaborating and networking.
As a non-threatening environment, icebreaker sessions promote lighthearted conversations and laughter—helping alleviate any tensions within the group.
This casual start to problem-solving group activities is a great way to introduce any formal learning sessions and puts everyone in a positive frame of mind.
Other benefits of problem-solving group activities are that they enable participants to share their own thoughts and expectations for sessions.
Implementing a well thought out icebreaker will garner more engagement from participants, as they feel like active players—rather than just listening in.
You’ll often find that icebreakers, like team building exercises, can help break up any existing cliques within groups and encourage participants to engage with people they might otherwise not interact with.
This is a good way to help build effective work relationships for the future.
10 problem-solving activities for employees
With these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at 10 team building activities to try with your employees.
All of these activities promote quick problem solving, critical thinking, trust, and a positive culture within groups.
Plus, as they’re quite simple activities, you can try them anywhere with minimal equipment.
1. Human knots
This is a simple activity you can do with any team.
It teaches communication and clear thinking in the face of a complex, frustrating problem.
There will likely be a number of solutions proposed by different members of the team, and each will need to be evaluated and implemented by the whole group.
Helps with: Communication skills, collaboration.
Time: 10 – 15 minutes.
What you need: Nothing (other than a small team of people).
- Have your team stand in a small circle (form multiple circles if you’re a larger group). Each person should hold the hands of two2 other people in the circle that are not standing directly beside them. This should create a messy knot of cross-crossed arms.
- Instruct your team to untangle themselves without releasing hands at any point. They may not be able to fully disentangle to form a circle again, but by the end of the activity time, they should have started working together to solve the problem.
Oh no! Your team is stranded in the barren Siberian wastelands and a sudden winter storm is approaching.
Using only the materials on hand, you need to build a structure that will withstand the harsh winds of the storm.
Unfortunately, the leader of your expedition has been struck with frostbite in both hands, and all the others are suffering from severe snow blindness.
Helps with: Leadership, trust, decision-making, adaptability.
Time: 30 minutes.
What you need: Blindfolds, an electric fan, and simple building materials such as card stock or cardboard paper, toothpicks, rubber bands, straws, masking tape, sticky notes, etc.
- Split into small groups of 4 – 5 people. Each group should elect a leader.
- Team leaders are not allowed to use their hands in any way to help the group, and group members must be blindfolded during the exercise.
- Teams have 30 minutes to construct a small tent structure that can withstand the wind from the highest setting on the fan.
3. Dumbest idea first
Thinking outside the box can stimulate your creativity and lead you to solutions that would normally sound too crazy to work.
By looking at these crazy solutions first, you can expand your options and discover the possible solutions that might not be as obvious.
Helps with: Creative problem solving, critical thinking, quick problem solving.
Time: 15 – 20 minutes.
What you need: Piece of paper, pen or pencil.
- Present a problem to your team. This could be a real-world problem that project management is actually facing, or it could be a made-up scenario. Example: Your company is trying to beat a competitor to secure a contract renewal with a high-paying client, but the client is leaning towards your competitors. You have a short time to change their minds before they make the official decision.
- With the problem presented, instruct your team to come up with the dumbest ideas they can think of to address the problem. Write them all down.
- Once each person has presented a few ideas, go through the list and evaluate each idea to see which ones are the most viable. List them down from the most likely to work to the least likely.
This is a particularly great problem-solving exercise for remote teams, as you can easily organize it via video conferencing with a whiteboard app for brainstorming.
4. Wool web
As difficult as it is to replicate the complexity of real-world problems, that’s no reason not to try!
Wool web creates a problem that seems impossible in the beginning, but with the right direction and working together, teams can learn to break down impossible situations into solvable problems one step at a time.
Helps with: Communication, leadership.
What you need: A few small balls of yarn.
- Divide the group into teams of equal size. Each team gets a ball of yarn.
- Instruct each team to make a large web from the yarn ball. Give them 5 – 10 minutes to do so. Once they’re done, rotate all the teams so that each team is at a yarn web they did not build.
- Each team should select one person to unwind the web. This person will be blindfolded, and the rest of the team should direct them on how to unwind the web through verbal instructions only. The first team to do it wins the game.
5. Tallest tower
One the classic group problem-solving activities, simple construction projects can help teams develop strategies to overcome out of the box problems.
Using only two materials, teams will compete to make the tallest marshmallow spaghetti tower in a set amount of time.
Helps with: Collaboration, creative thinking.
What you need: One pack uncooked spaghetti noodles, one bag of marshmallows.
- Divide your group into two equal teams. Give each team 20 – 30 uncooked spaghetti noodles and 3 – 4 marshmallows.
- In the given time, teams will compete to create the tallest tower using only the materials provided. A marshmallow must be placed at the top of the tower.
6. Spider web
A crafty spider has trapped your group in its lair.
To escape, you must pass through its web to get to the other side safely.
Each member of the team must pass through the web without touching it, but each hole in the web is only accessible once.
Helps with: Resource management, critical thinking, collaboration .
Time: 30 – 40 minutes.
What you need: One long ball of yarn, strong tape, scissors.
- Create a large web between two stationary objects (walls, trees, desks, etc.). The web should have 2 – 3 more holes than the number of people in the group, and holes should be of varying sizes with some being simple to pass through and others more difficult. Position your team on one1 side of the web.
- The goal is for them to go through the holes in the web without touching it. Each team member can only get to the other side through the web, not by going around the web.
- Instruct your team to pass through the web one at a time, with each hole being closed as it’s used. The activity is over once the entire team is through to the other side.
7. Shrinking vessel
Your whole team is stuck within a slowly shrinking vessel.
It’s up to them to figure out how to stay inside the given space as it gradually closes in.
Helps with: Adaptability, quick thinking, collaboration.
Time: 10 minutes.
What you need: A rope, ball of yarn, or similarly thick string.
- Put a large circle of rope on the floor. Position your entire team within the circle.
- Slowly reduce the size of the circle. Instruct your team to work together to keep the whole team within the circle as it gets smaller. No one should step outside the circle. See how small you can make the space before they’re unable to stay inside.
The concept of this one is simple: The team has arrived on a battlefield laid with mines.
One person at a time must attempt to cross the battlefield without stepping on one.
Once a team member steps on a mine, they must return back to the start.
Helps with: Communication.
Time: 60 minutes.
What you need: An empty room or hallway, blindfolds, and a collection of common office items.
- Place the items (chairs, boxes, water bottles, bags, etc.) around the room so there’s no obvious path from one end of the room to the other.
- Split your team into pairs and blindfold one person on the team.
- The other must verbally guide that person from one end of the room to the other, avoiding the “mines” (The partner who is not blindfolded can’t touch the other).
To make Minefield more challenging, set it up so that all the pairs go simultaneously—teams must find ways to strategically communicate with each other.
9. Egg drop
While this one does involve a little bit of equipment (and potential mess), it’s great for helping your team practice making choices quickly.
Train your team’s decision-making muscles to help them become more adept at problem solving.
Helps with: Collaboration, decision-making.
Time: 20-30 minutes.
What you need: A carton of eggs, basic construction materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, etc. You’ll also need an outside space where it doesn’t matter if you get messy!
- Give each team an egg and ask them to select from the construction materials.
- Allow 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier for the egg and protect it from breaking.
- Drop each egg carrier off a ledge to see whose carrier protects the egg from breaking.
- If multiple eggs make it, keep increasing the height until only one egg is left.
If you think your team might have communication problems, Stranded can be a great way to spot them.
It’s easy to see who’s a strong leader, who’s happy to just go along with things, and who’s most likely to butt heads.
You can even intervene during the icebreaker to smooth out these problems, hopefully laying the groundwork for better communication in the future.
Helps with: Communication, decision-making.
What you need: An office and your team.
Your team is stranded in the office. The doors are locked, and knocking down the doors or breaking the windows is not a possibility.
Set the timer and give your team 30 minutes to decide on the ten items that they need for survival in the office, and rank them in order of importance.
The goal of the game is to have everyone agree on the ten items and their rankings within 30 minutes.
After the activities
If you choose to do team building problem-solving activities, take the time after you finishto dissect the game and understand what happened, why it matters, and how to apply those skills in a real-world scenario.
It’s not about frustrating people or just playing a fun game together. These exercises can have a real impact on the way your team works, and are the building blocks of a better future.
Take the time to sit down and talk over the lessons of the games, including what could have been done better in terms of team collaboration. The end result should be a team that understands itself a little more and is better equipped to solve problems that come up in the workplace.
Improve collaboration with problem-solving group activities
Problem-solving group activities are a great tool to foster efficient inter-departmental collaboration .
The key to any group activity is communication .
When everyone is communicating effectively, problems get solved faster, and groups learn to work together efficiently.
As professionals, problem solving is a crucial skill, and one which needs to be practiced on an ongoing basis to be applied effectively.
By using fun problem-solving activities, you can help improve your teams’ problem solving abilities and foster a positive culture of collaboration and honest feedback.
The ideas for problem-solving group activities we’ve covered are just the start, you could expand into things like scavenger hunts or even escape rooms.
Why not give them a try?
Originally published November 10, 2020, updated February 23, 2023
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Creative Problem Solving
Finding innovative solutions to challenges.
By the Mind Tools Content Team
Imagine that you're vacuuming your house in a hurry because you've got friends coming over. Frustratingly, you're working hard but you're not getting very far. You kneel down, open up the vacuum cleaner, and pull out the bag. In a cloud of dust, you realize that it's full... again. Coughing, you empty it and wonder why vacuum cleaners with bags still exist!
James Dyson, inventor and founder of Dyson® vacuum cleaners, had exactly the same problem, and he used creative problem solving to find the answer. While many companies focused on developing a better vacuum cleaner filter, he realized that he had to think differently and find a more creative solution. So, he devised a revolutionary way to separate the dirt from the air, and invented the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner. 
Creative problem solving (CPS) is a way of solving problems or identifying opportunities when conventional thinking has failed. It encourages you to find fresh perspectives and come up with innovative solutions, so that you can formulate a plan to overcome obstacles and reach your goals.
In this article, we'll explore what CPS is, and we'll look at its key principles. We'll also provide a model that you can use to generate creative solutions.
About Creative Problem Solving
Alex Osborn, founder of the Creative Education Foundation, first developed creative problem solving in the 1940s, along with the term "brainstorming." And, together with Sid Parnes, he developed the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process. Despite its age, this model remains a valuable approach to problem solving. 
The early Osborn-Parnes model inspired a number of other tools. One of these is the 2011 CPS Learner's Model, also from the Creative Education Foundation, developed by Dr Gerard J. Puccio, Marie Mance, and co-workers. In this article, we'll use this modern four-step model to explore how you can use CPS to generate innovative, effective solutions.
Why Use Creative Problem Solving?
Dealing with obstacles and challenges is a regular part of working life, and overcoming them isn't always easy. To improve your products, services, communications, and interpersonal skills, and for you and your organization to excel, you need to encourage creative thinking and find innovative solutions that work.
CPS asks you to separate your "divergent" and "convergent" thinking as a way to do this. Divergent thinking is the process of generating lots of potential solutions and possibilities, otherwise known as brainstorming. And convergent thinking involves evaluating those options and choosing the most promising one. Often, we use a combination of the two to develop new ideas or solutions. However, using them simultaneously can result in unbalanced or biased decisions, and can stifle idea generation.
For more on divergent and convergent thinking, and for a useful diagram, see the book "Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making." 
Core Principles of Creative Problem Solving
CPS has four core principles. Let's explore each one in more detail:
- Divergent and convergent thinking must be balanced. The key to creativity is learning how to identify and balance divergent and convergent thinking (done separately), and knowing when to practice each one.
- Ask problems as questions. When you rephrase problems and challenges as open-ended questions with multiple possibilities, it's easier to come up with solutions. Asking these types of questions generates lots of rich information, while asking closed questions tends to elicit short answers, such as confirmations or disagreements. Problem statements tend to generate limited responses, or none at all.
- Defer or suspend judgment. As Alex Osborn learned from his work on brainstorming, judging solutions early on tends to shut down idea generation. Instead, there's an appropriate and necessary time to judge ideas during the convergence stage.
- Focus on "Yes, and," rather than "No, but." Language matters when you're generating information and ideas. "Yes, and" encourages people to expand their thoughts, which is necessary during certain stages of CPS. Using the word "but" – preceded by "yes" or "no" – ends conversation, and often negates what's come before it.
How to Use the Tool
Let's explore how you can use each of the four steps of the CPS Learner's Model (shown in figure 1, below) to generate innovative ideas and solutions.
Figure 1 – CPS Learner's Model
Explore the Vision
Identify your goal, desire or challenge. This is a crucial first step because it's easy to assume, incorrectly, that you know what the problem is. However, you may have missed something or have failed to understand the issue fully, and defining your objective can provide clarity. Read our article, 5 Whys , for more on getting to the root of a problem quickly.
Once you've identified and understood the problem, you can collect information about it and develop a clear understanding of it. Make a note of details such as who and what is involved, all the relevant facts, and everyone's feelings and opinions.
When you've increased your awareness of the challenge or problem you've identified, ask questions that will generate solutions. Think about the obstacles you might face and the opportunities they could present.
Generate ideas that answer the challenge questions you identified in step 1. It can be tempting to consider solutions that you've tried before, as our minds tend to return to habitual thinking patterns that stop us from producing new ideas. However, this is a chance to use your creativity .
Brainstorming and Mind Maps are great ways to explore ideas during this divergent stage of CPS. And our articles, Encouraging Team Creativity , Problem Solving , Rolestorming , Hurson's Productive Thinking Model , and The Four-Step Innovation Process , can also help boost your creativity.
See our Brainstorming resources within our Creativity section for more on this.
This is the convergent stage of CPS, where you begin to focus on evaluating all of your possible options and come up with solutions. Analyze whether potential solutions meet your needs and criteria, and decide whether you can implement them successfully. Next, consider how you can strengthen them and determine which ones are the best "fit." Our articles, Critical Thinking and ORAPAPA , are useful here.
Formulate a plan.
Once you've chosen the best solution, it's time to develop a plan of action. Start by identifying resources and actions that will allow you to implement your chosen solution. Next, communicate your plan and make sure that everyone involved understands and accepts it.
There have been many adaptations of CPS since its inception, because nobody owns the idea.
For example, Scott Isaksen and Donald Treffinger formed The Creative Problem Solving Group Inc . and the Center for Creative Learning , and their model has evolved over many versions. Blair Miller, Jonathan Vehar and Roger L. Firestien also created their own version, and Dr Gerard J. Puccio, Mary C. Murdock, and Marie Mance developed CPS: The Thinking Skills Model.  Tim Hurson created The Productive Thinking Model , and Paul Reali developed CPS: Competencies Model. 
Sid Parnes continued to adapt the CPS model by adding concepts such as imagery and visualization , and he founded the Creative Studies Project to teach CPS. For more information on the evolution and development of the CPS process, see Creative Problem Solving Version 6.1 by Donald J. Treffinger, Scott G. Isaksen, and K. Brian Dorval. 
Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Infographic
See our infographic on Creative Problem Solving .
Creative problem solving (CPS) is a way of using your creativity to develop new ideas and solutions to problems. The process is based on separating divergent and convergent thinking styles, so that you can focus your mind on creating at the first stage, and then evaluating at the second stage.
There have been many adaptations of the original Osborn-Parnes model, but they all involve a clear structure of identifying the problem, generating new ideas, evaluating the options, and then formulating a plan for successful implementation.
 Entrepreneur (2012). James Dyson on Using Failure to Drive Success [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 27, 2022.]
 Creative Education Foundation (2015). The CPS Process [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 26, 2022.]
 Kaner, S. et al. (2014). 'Facilitator′s Guide to Participatory Decision–Making,' San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
 Puccio, G., Mance, M., and Murdock, M. (2011). 'Creative Leadership: Skils That Drive Change' (2nd Ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
 OmniSkills (2013). Creative Problem Solving [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 26, 2022].
 Treffinger, G., Isaksen, S., and Dorval, B. (2010). Creative Problem Solving (CPS Version 6.1). Center for Creative Learning, Inc. & Creative Problem Solving Group, Inc. Available here .
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17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities
Problem-solving is a critical skill for professionals and with team building problem-solving activities, you can sharpen your skills while having fun at the same time.
Updated on August 31, 2021
In the professional world, one thing is for sure: problem-solving is a vital skill if you want to survive and thrive. It’s a universal job skill that organizations seek in new potential employees and that managers look for when considering candidates for promotions.
But there’s a problem. According to Payscale , 60% of managers feel that new grads entering the workforce lack problem-solving abilities – making it the most commonly lacked soft skill.
Problem-solving skill needs to be practiced and perfected on an ongoing basis in order to be applied effectively when the time comes. And while there are tons of traditional approaches to becoming a better problem-solver, there’s another (much more interesting) option: team building problem solving activities.
The good news? This means learning and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And you can create a stronger team at the same time.
11 In-Person Team Building Problem Solving Activities for Your Work Group
1. cardboard boat building challenge, 2. egg drop , 3. clue murder mystery, 4. marshmallow spaghetti tower , 5. corporate escape room, 6. wild goose chase, 7. lost at sea , 8. domino effect challenge, 9. reverse pyramid , 10. ci: the crime investigators, 11. team pursuit, 5 virtual team building problem solving activities for your work group , 1. virtual escape room: mummy’s curse, 2. virtual clue murder mystery, 3. virtual escape room: jewel heist, 4. virtual code break , 5. virtual trivia time machine.
- 6. Virtual Jeoparty Social
There are a ton of incredible team building problem solving activities available. We’ve hand-picked 11 of our favorites that we think your corporate group will love too.
Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability! Nothing says problem-solving like having to make sure you don’t sink into the water!
Every day at work, you’re forced to make countless decisions – whether they’re massively important or so small you barely think about them.
But your ability to effectively make decisions is critical in solving problems quickly and effectively.
With a classic team building problem solving activity like the Egg Drop, that’s exactly what your team will learn to do.
For this activity, you’ll need some eggs, construction materials, and a place you wouldn’t mind smashing getting dirty with eggshells and yolks.
The goal of this activity is to create a contraption that will encase an egg and protect it from a fall – whether it’s from standing height or the top of a building. But the challenge is that you and your team will only have a short amount of time to build it before it’s time to test it out, so you’ll have to think quickly!
To make it even more challenging, you’ll have to build the casing using only simple materials like:
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber bands
- Popsicle sticks
- Cotton balls
Feel free to have some fun in picking the materials. Use whatever you think would be helpful without making things too easy!
Give your group 15 minutes to construct their egg casing before each team drops their eggs. If multiple eggs survive, increase the height gradually to see whose created the sturdiest contraption.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using eggs for this activity, consider using another breakable alternative, such as lightbulbs for a vegan Egg Drop experience.
With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime.
But it won’t be easy! You’ll need to exercise your best problem-solving skills and channel your inner detectives if you want to keep this case from going cold and to get justice for the victim.
Collaboration is critical to problem solving.
Why? Because, as the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This expression reflects the fact that people are capable of achieving greater things when they work together to do so.
If you’re looking for a team building problem solving activity that helps boost collaboration, you’ll love Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower.
This game involves working in teams to build the tallest possible freestanding tower using only marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string.
The kicker? This all has to be done within an allotted timeframe. We recommend about thirty minutes.
For an added dimension of challenge, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower to make it a little more top heavy.
Whichever team has the highest tower when time runs out is the winner!
If you’ve never participated in an escape room, your team is missing out! It’s one of the most effective team building problem solving activities out there because it puts you and your colleagues in a scenario where the only way out is collaboratively solving puzzles and deciphering clues.
The principle is simple: lock your group in a room, hide the key somewhere in that room, and have them work through challenges within a set time frame. Each challenge will lead them one step closer to finding the key and, ultimately, their escape.
At Outback, we offer “done-for-you” escape rooms where we’ll transform your office or meeting room so you don’t have to worry about:
- Seeking transportation for your team
- Capacity of the escape rooms
- High costs
- Excessive planning
That way, you and your team can simply step inside and get to work collaborating, using creative problem solving, and thinking outside the box.
In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity , your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:
- Parkour: Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
- Beautiful Mind: Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
- Puppy Love: Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.
It takes a ton of critical thinking and problem-solving to be crowned the Wild Goose Chase Champions!
Can you imagine a higher-pressure situation than being stranded at sea in a lifeboat with your colleagues?
With this team building problem solving activity, that’s exactly the situation you and your group will put yourselves. But by the time the activity is over, you’ll have gained more experience with the idea of having to solve problems under pressure – a common but difficult thing to do.
Here’s how it works.
Each team member will get a six-columned chart where:
- The first column lists the survival items each team has on hand (see the list below)
- The second column is empty so that each team member can rank the items in order of importance for survival
- The third column is for group rankings
- The fourth column is for the “correct” rankings, which are revealed at the end of the activity
- The fifth and sixth columns are for the team to enter thee difference between their individual and correct scores and the team and correct rankings
Within this activity, each team will be equipped with the following “survival items,” listed below in order of importance, as well as a pack of matches:
- A shaving mirror (this can be used to signal passing ships using the sun)
- A can of gas (could be used for signaling as it could be put in the water and lit with the pack of matches)
- A water container (for collecting water to re-hydrate)
- Emergency food rations (critical survival food)
- One plastic sheet (can be helpful for shelter or to collect rainwater)
- Chocolate bars (another food supply)
- Fishing rods (helpful, but no guarantee of catching food)
- Rope (can be handy, but not necessarily essential for survival)
- A floating seat cushion (usable as a life preserver)
- Shark repellant (could be important when in the water)
- A bottle of rum (could be useful for cleaning wounds)
- A radio (could be very helpful but there’s a good chance you’re out of range)
- A sea chart (this is worthless without navigation equipment)
- A mosquito net (unless you’ve been shipwrecked somewhere with a ton of mosquitos, this isn’t very useful)
To get the activity underway, divide your group into teams of five and ask each team member to take ten minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance in the respective column. Then, give the full team ten minutes as a group to discuss their individual rankings together and take group rankings, listed in that respective column. Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with those of the group as a whole.
Finally, read out the correct order according to the US Coast Guard, listed above.
The goal of this activity is for everyone to be heard and to come to a decision together about what they need most to survive.
If your team works remotely, you can also do this activity online. Using a video conferencing tool like Zoom , you can bring your group together and separate teams into “break-out rooms” where they’ll take their time individually and then regroup together. At the end, you can bring them back to the full video conference to go through the answers together.
Many problems are intricately complex and involve a ton of moving parts. And in order to solve this type of problem, you need to be able to examine it systematically, one piece at a time.
Especially in the business world, many problems or challenges involve multiple different teams or departments working through their respective portions of a problem before coming together in the end to create a holistic solution.
As you can imagine, this is often easier said than done. And that’s why it’s so important to practice this ability.
With a collaborative team building problem solving activity like Domino Effect Challenge, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do as you and your group work to create a massive, fully functional chain reaction machine.
Here’s how it goes.
Your group will break up into teams, with each team working to complete their own section of a massive “Rube Goldberg” machine. Then, all teams will regroup and assemble the entire machine together. You’ll need to exercise communication, collaboration, and on-the-fly problem solving in order to make your chain reaction machine go off without a hitch from start to finish.
Being a great problem-solver means being adaptable and creative. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy team building problem solving activity, you’ll love the reverse pyramid.
The idea here is simple: break your group out into small teams and then stand in the form of a pyramid.
Your challenge is to flip the base and the peak of the pyramid – but you can only move three people in order to do so.
Alternatively, rather than doing this activity with people as the pyramid, you can do another version – the Pyramid Build – using plastic cups instead.
This version is a little bit different. Rather than flipping the base of a pyramid to the top, you’ll need to build the pyramid instead–but in reverse, starting from the top cup and working down.
With this version, you’ll need 36 cups and one table per group. We recommend groups of five to seven people. Give your group 20 to 30 minutes to complete the activity.
To get started, place one cup face down. Then, lift that cup and place the subsequent two cups underneath it.
The real challenge here? You can only lift your pyramid by the bottom row in order to put a new row underneath – and only one person at a time can do the lifting. The remaining group members will need to act quickly and work together in order to add the next row so that it will balance the rest of the pyramid.
If any part of your pyramid falls, you’ll need to start over. Whichever team has the most complete pyramid when time runs out will be the winner!
The value of being able to approach problems analytically can’t be overstated. Because when problems arise, the best way to solve them is by examining the facts and making a decision based on what you know.
With CI: The Crime Investigators, this is exactly what your team will be called upon to do as you put your detective’s hats on and work to solve a deadly crime.
You’ll be presented with evidence and need to uncover and decipher clues. And using only the information at your disposal, you’ll need to examine the facts in order to crack the case.
Like many of our team building problem solving activities, CI: The Crime Investigators is available in a hosted format, which can take place at your office or an outside venue, as well as a virtually-hosted format that uses video conferencing tools, or a self-hosted version that you can run entirely on your own.
Each member of your team has their own unique strengths and skills. And by learning to combine those skills, you can overcome any challenge and solve any problem. With Team Pursuit, you and your team together to tackle challenges as you learn new things about one another, discover your hidden talents, and learn to rely on each other.
This team building problem solving activity is perfect for high-energy groups that love to put their heads together and work strategically to solve problems as a group.
If you and your team are working remotely, don’t worry. You still have a ton of great virtual team building problem solving options at your disposal.
In this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.
You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime.
This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.
If you and your team like brainteasers, then Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist will be a big hit.
Here’s the backstory.
There’s been a robbery. Someone has masterminded a heist to steal a priceless collection of precious jewels, and it’s up to you and your team to recover them before time runs out.
Together, you’ll need to uncover hidden clues and solve a series of brain-boggling challenges that require collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking. But be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever.
With Virtual Code Break, you and your team can learn to be adaptive and dynamic in your thinking in order to tackle any new challenges that come your way. In this activity, your group will connect on a video conferencing platform where your event host will split you out into teams. Together, you’ll have to adapt your problem-solving skills as you race against the clock to tackle a variety of mixed brainteaser challenges ranging from Sudoku to puzzles, a game of Cranium, riddles, and even trivia.
Curious to see how a virtual team building activity works? Check out this video on a Virtual Clue Murder Mystery in action.
Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s.
This exciting, fast-paced virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing.
Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers!
And if your team loves trivia, check out our list of the most incredible virtual trivia games for work teams for even more ideas.
6. Virtual Jeoparty Social
If your remote team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Virtual Jeoparty Social, you and your colleagues will step into your very own virtual Jeopardy-style game show—equipped with a buzzer button, a professional actor as your host, and an immersive game show platform! Best of all, this game has been infused with an ultra-social twist: players will take part in a unique social mixer challenge between each round.
With the right team building problem solving activities, you can help your team sharpen their core skills to ensure they’re prepared when they inevitably face a challenge at work. And best of all, you can have fun in the process.
Do you have any favorite team building activities for building problem-solving skills? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below!
Learn More About Team Building Problem Solving Activities
For more information about how your group can take part in a virtual team building, training, or coaching solution, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.
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38 Team Building Problem-Solving Activities
In our Management Training we often stress that a strong team is essential for achieving organisational goals, improving productivity and creating a positive work environment, and team building activities are one of the essential tools that really can make this a reality!
Designed to be interactive and fun, they encourage employees to work together and solve problems – increasing creativity and collaboration across your workplace.
So, whether you are looking to improve communication, or are just looking to build stronger teams within your organisation, these 38 engaging problem-solving activities are a sure-fire way to help you achieve your goals.
32 In-Person Team Building Problem-Solving Activities
If you want to implement more team-building activities, problem-solving activities, and other communication exercises into your team strategy, these 32 in-person options are all great ones to start with:
1. A Shrinking Vessel
The shrinking vessel helps you and your employees work on adaptability and learn to solve problems faster, especially in high-pressure situations.
This game involves using a rope or string to create a circle on the floor. Everyone stands inside the circle. Then, you will gradually shrink it, and everyone must work together to stay inside.
2. Blind Formations
Blind formations is another group activity that involves a rope. Instead of focusing on adaptability, though, this game helps you and your employees develop better communication skills.
For this activity, you’ll just need a rope and a blindfold for each team member.
The group will don their blindfolds and stand in a circle. Then, you’ll tie the ends of the rope together to form a circle that everyone reaches down and touches.
Once everyone has their hands on the rope, you will call out shapes (square, triangle, etc.), and the group must work together to form that shape.
3. Bonding Belt
The bonding belt activity allows your employees to work on communication and problem-solving.
For this activity, divide the team into groups of five. Then, bind each group with rope or tape.
Once everyone has been bound together, each group must move from one point to another as quickly as possible. Use a stopwatch to track each group’s time as accurately as possible.
4. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge
The cardboard boat-building challenge gives team members a chance to get creative and think outside the box (or boat).
The goal is simple: Use cardboard and tape to create a boat that floats across a body of water without sinking.
In addition to building such a boat, each team must also deliver a presentation explaining their reasoning for creating the boat the way they did. Then, they’ll put it in the water and test its functionality.
5. Clue Murder Mystery
Everyone loves a good murder mystery, and Clue is the ultimate murder mystery game!
When playing Clue, you and your team members will collaborate and analyse a collection of clues to determine which character committed a murder.
It sounds simple at first. However, this game requires critical thinking, effective communication, and problem-solving to discover the correct answer.
6. Corporate Escape Room
Depending on where your business is located, you might have easy access to a corporate escape room.
Corporate escape rooms are businesses that allow customers to work together — while locked in a specially decorated room — to solve clues and figure out how to get out of the room as quickly as possible.
Many escape rooms have fun themes, from Sherlock Holmes-style murder mysteries to fantasy. Regardless of the theme, though, this activity allows everyone to work on collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
7. Crack The Case
Crack the case is another version of a murder mystery game.
This activity is similar to Clue, but it allows in-person and remote employees to work together with the help of video conferencing platforms. Your team members can collaborate to review case files, discuss clues, and solve the mystery.
8. Create Your Own
If you really want to challenge your employees’ creativity, task them with creating their own team-building activity.
Divide your team into smaller groups. Then, assign each group to develop an activity that is unique to the business and aligns with its mission and values.
Not only does this challenge encourage team members to think outside the box and communicate effectively, but it also provides an opportunity for them to reflect on the company values and what they mean to them.
9. Dog, Rice, And Chicken
Dog, rice, and chicken is a silly problem-solving game that encourages your team members to let loose and blow off some steam.
One team member plays the role of the farmer, and the other team members are villagers. The farmer has three items: a dog, rice, and a chicken, which they must take across the river on a boat one at a time.
The villagers must work together to advise the farmer and propose the best way for them to transport the items without the dog eating the chicken or the chicken eating the rice.
10. Domino Effect Challenge
The domino effect challenge requires team members to create a fully functioning chain reaction machine. Divide the team into groups, then ask each group to design and build one part of the machine.
This game puts employees’ communication and collaboration skills to the test, as well as their ability to adapt and solve problems quickly.
11. Dumbest Idea First
This is another fun game for employees who need to stop taking themselves so seriously. It doesn’t require any equipment and encourages employees to think quickly on their feet.
The instructions for this game are simple. Ask everyone to think of the dumbest solution to a problem you’re trying to solve at the office.
After each person shares their ideas, you might find that there are actually some good ones that you and your employees can implement.
12. Egg Drop
The egg drop activity is useful in various situations, not just in science class. The egg drop activity challenges employees to work together to create a vessel that will support an egg and prevent it from breaking when it’s dropped from a great height.
This activity encourages problem-solving, communication, creativity, and collaboration. It also gives employees a chance to break out of their daily routine and do something with their hands.
13. End In Mind
Sometimes, you and your employees have to work backwards to find a solution. End in mind challenges team members to do precisely this.
For this activity, you’ll need to write down the steps, dates, and milestones involved in completing a specific project. Write each one down on a separate piece of paper.
Tell employees what the end result is. Then, encourage them to rearrange the pieces of paper in order, working backwards to figure out how the project was completed.
Can’t make it to a corporate escape room? No problem!
You can play Escape at your office easily. All you need is a room that locks, the key, a rope, and a series of puzzles or clues.
Use the rope to “lock” employees in the room after hiding the key. Then, challenge them to complete the puzzles or solve the clues to find the key and “escape.”
Frostbite helps your employees develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Crank up an electric fan to mimic an icy tundra. Then, tell your employees that they are Arctic explorers.
Divide them into groups of four or five, then ask each group to appoint a leader. The goal is for each team to build a shelter out of construction materials (paper, cardboard, toothpicks, rubber bands, etc.) with a 30-minute time limit.
There’s a catch, though. The leader has frostbite on their hands and can’t help, and the rest of the team members have snow blindness and can’t see.
While wearing blindfolds, the team members will have to listen to the leader’s instructions to build a reliable shelter.
16. Human Knot
Human knot encourages employees to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems creatively.
Stand in a circle, then ask each employee to grab the hands of two people not directly next to them. After everyone has found two hands to hold, the goal is to untangle the human knot (without letting go of any hands) and stand in a circle once more.
This is another activity that allows your team members to be creative, think outside the box, and have some fun.
Divide the group into small teams of at least two people. Then, select one person to create a random structure out of Lego bricks in a 10-minute period.
When this person is finished, the other teams must replicate the structure in just 15 minutes. However, only one person gets to look at the structure. They must then relay information to their team members(s) and help them replicate it perfectly.
18. Line Up Blind
Here’s another activity that involves a blindfold!
For this activity, everyone is blindfolded. You’ll go around the room and assign each person a number.
When you’re finished, instruct the group to line up in numerical order without talking. You can also ask them to line up based on other factors, like height, age, etc.
19. Lost At Sea
Lost at sea challenges your employees’ problem-solving abilities in stressful situations. Each person receives a six-column chart that includes the following:
- Column 1 features a list of survival items
- Column 2 is empty; each team member will rank the survival items in order of importance
- Column 3 is reserved for group rankings
- Column 4 is dedicated to the “correct” rankings (revealed at the end of the activity)
- Columns 5 and 6 allow team members to enter the difference between individual and correct scores, as well as the team and correct rankings.
Form groups of five. Then, ask each team member to rank items in order of importance individually.
Give the team 10 minutes to discuss their individual rankings and create a group ranking. When the 10 minutes are up, you’ll read out the official correct order, which goes as follows:
- Shaving mirror (to signal passing ships using the sun)
- Can of gas (for signalling if it’s poured in the water and lit with matches)
- Water container (for collection and re-hydration)
- Emergency food rations (essential for survival)
- One plastic sheet (for shelter or rainwater collection)
- Chocolate bars (additional food)
- Fishing rods (helpful for catching food)
- Rope (helpful but not essential for survival)
- Floating seat cushion (potential life preserver)
- Shark repellent (for safety)
- Bottle of rum (for cleaning wounds)
- Radio (helpful if you’re within range)
- Sea chart (worthless without navigation equipment)
- Mosquito net (not very useful unless you’re shipwrecked)
20. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
The marshmallow spaghetti tower activity encourages team members to work together, be creative, and communicate effectively. Each team will need the following:
- 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 metre of string
- 1 marshmallow
Give each team a specific amount of time to build the tallest tower using the materials provided. It must be able to stand without help.
Grab the blindfolds and challenge employees’ communication with the minefield game.
Lead everyone into an empty room or hallway. Place everyday office items throughout the room or hallway. Divide the group into pairs and blindfold one member.
The non-blindfolded member must verbally guide their partner from one end of the room to the other without hitting any “mines.”
22. Move It!
This activity gets your employees away from the desk and working together to solve problems.
Divide the group into two teams. Line them up front to back, so they’re facing each other.
Use chalk, tape, or rope to mark a square for each person to stand on. Leave an empty space between the facing rows.
The facing players must switch places. However, there are rules:
- Only one person can move at a time
- A player cannot move around anyone facing the same direction
- No one can move backwards
- A player cannot move around more than one person on the other team at a time.
23. Organisational Jenga
If you have access to a Jenga game, grab it and use it to develop communication and collaboration skills.
Label each block in a hierarchical order that aligns with your company’s hierarchy. Then, challenge team members to play the game as they normally would.
This activity emphasises the importance of the entire organisation working together to survive and thrive.
24. Reverse Pyramid
This activity doesn’t require any equipment. You just need your employees, who will stand in a pyramid shape.
Challenge them to flip the base and point of the pyramid by moving just three people.
25. Scavenger Hunt
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt to build a team. Divide your team into groups, then give each group a list of items to find and bring back within a set time period.
Whether you limit them to the office or set them loose in the neighbourhood, this activity is sure to get people talking and laughing.
Instead of being locked in a room, your team is now locked in the office and unable to escape. Give them 30 minutes to decide which 10 items they need to survive and rank those items in order of importance.
27. Team Pursuit
Team Pursuit is an app-powered game that allows team members to learn more about each other and their unique talents. They’ll complete challenges by taking photos or videos or typing messages into the app.
Whichever team completes the most challenges before the timer goes off is the winner.
28. The Barter Puzzle
For this activity, you’ll need a collection of jigsaw puzzles with the pieces mixed up.
Divide the group into teams of five, and challenge them to compete to finish a puzzle first. They’ll need to negotiate, barter, and assign tasks to find all the pieces for their puzzle.
29. The Crime Investigators
This game is another murder mystery-style activity. Tell your team about a crime that has occurred. Then, challenge them to review evidence, decipher clues, and figure out who’s guilty.
30. Web Of Wools
Grab a spool of yarn or string for this fun and engaging activity.
Divide the group into two teams. Then, assign each team to entangle themselves using yarn or string. Then, tell the teams to switch webs.
One team member on each team will be blindfolded and tasked with untangling the web. They must take instructions from their other team members to solve the puzzle.
31. What Would X Do
This activity gives employees a chance to think creatively and have fun at the same time. Assign everyone to pretend they’re a famous person. Then, ask them how they would solve a particular problem if they were that person.
32. Wild Goose Chase
Wild Goose Chase is a smartphone-based scavenger hunt. Split the group into teams. Then, send them out into the city to take fun photos and videos suggested by the app.
6 Virtual Team Building Problem Solving Activities
Even if you manage a remote team, you can still use virtual team-building and problem-solving activities to bring team members closer together. Here are 6 suggestions that you can try during your next virtual group gathering:
1. Clue Murder Mystery
For many of us, Clue was our first introduction to the world of murder mysteries. You don’t have to gather around a board to play it anymore, either.
Virtual Clue brings your employees together to solve a murder mystery, analysing clues to identify the person with the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. This game is a fun way for employees to work on their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
2. Code Break
Virtual Code Break gives your employees a chance to overcome interesting challenges and strengthen their problem-solving skills.
You can use video conferencing tools to work with team members and complete all kinds of puzzles and games, from Sudoku to Cranium. You can even work together to solve virtual jigsaw puzzles!
3. Escape Room: Jewel Heist
Escape rooms are all the rage these days for team-building activities. You don’t have to all be trapped in the same room together to enjoy them though.
Many virtual escape rooms exist for remote teams, including Escape Room: Jewel Heist.
When playing this game, you and your team will work together to recover stolen jewels before time runs out. You’ll have to use your problem-solving skills and creative thinking to solve the puzzle and escape.
4. Escape Room: Mummy’s Curse
Mummy’s Curse is a virtual escape room that traps your team in a pyramid with an awakened and agitated mummy. You’ll have to collaborate to solve clues, complete challenges, and lift the curse to escape the pyramid.
5. Jeopardy Social
Virtual Jeopardy Social puts you and your employees into your own game show. You even get a buzzer button to answer questions and a professional actor to host the vent.
In addition to answering questions and trying to score the greatest number of points, Virtual Jeopardy Social also incorporates social mixer challenges into each round. These challenges allow you and your employees to get to know each other better and develop stronger relationships.
6. Trivia Time Machine
Trivia games are popular team-building activities, and you and your employees can participate even if you can’t gather at a local pub together.
For example, Outback Time Machine takes participants back to the 1960s and features a series of fun, nostalgic questions that will get everyone talking and laughing. The virtual game show host also splits the group into teams and warms guests up with mixers to get everyone more comfortable.
Why Are Team Building Problem-Solving Activities Necessary?
Team-building activities, problem-solving exercises, and other group activities offer numerous benefits, regardless of the type of business you run. The following are some of the greatest advantages you and your employees can enjoy:
Get To Know Each Other Better
It’s remarkable that you can work next to someone everyday for years and still know next to nothing about them.
When you create opportunities for your employees to participate in team-building activities, you make it easier for them to get to know each other in a low-stress environment.
Playing games and solving puzzles together allows employees to learn more about each other’s personalities, their approach to difficult situations, and how they communicate.
Speaking of communication, team-building activities also gives all employees a chance to work on their communication skills.
When team members collaborate to solve problems or complete a task, they get better at presenting issues, asking questions, and developing solutions. All of these insights help employees better understand each other when dealing with work-related tasks.
Improve Teamwork And Team Performance
Better communication leads to improved collaboration and teamwork.
If your employees know how to communicate with one another, it’s easier for them to come together and get things done. They’ll likely face fewer roadblocks along the way to completing projects and will have better attitudes throughout the process, too.
Foster Friendly Competition
Problem-solving and team-building activities might seem frivolous at first. However, they actually create friendly competition, which can help to motivate employees and push them to challenge themselves.
Contests and challenges can also help employees to feel more confident in themselves and their skills. If they’ve doubted their abilities, taking a break and engaging in a fun, competitive activity can motivate them and encourage them to trust themselves in the future.
Increase Innovation And Creativity
Many managers and team members notice that team-building activities and problem-solving challenges help them to be more innovative and creative. These activities allow them to practice thinking outside the box and looking at situations in a new way.
Create Better Company Culture
According to 57 per cent of UK adults, workplace culture matters more than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. Your company culture will suffer if your workplace is focused on productivity and task completion 24/7 and you never make room for fun.
Company culture doesn’t just make your existing employees happier, either. When you strive to improve company culture, you can also enhance your business’s reputation and attract talented job seekers in the future.
Increase Engagement And Improved Morale
When you enhance communication, strengthen relationships between employees, and improve the company culture, you’ll notice that employee engagement increases and morale improves.
Happy employees are productive employees who want to put their best foot forward each day.
If you invest in your employees’ well-being and provide opportunities for them to work together, solve problems, and have fun, they’ll thank you by being more invested in their responsibilities and producing better results.
Nearly 75 per cent of UK employees say they deserve more recognition for their work.
Regular team-building and problem-solving activities give you a chance to show appreciation to your employees. For example, you can use these events as a way to celebrate team members who have just met a milestone or accomplished a major goal.
Identify Leadership Potential
When you host team-building activities for adults, problem-solving challenges, and other events, you have opportunities to evaluate employees in different settings and assess their leadership potential.
It’s not always easy to tell who might make a good leader when your employees are going about their everyday tasks. When you put them in a new environment, though, and challenge them to solve a unique problem, you might be amazed at who stands out.
Whether your team gathers in a traditional office or is spread out across the globe, you can use team-building and problem-solving activities to bring them closer together, create a better company culture, and improve productivity and engagement.
So why not use the 38 activities discussed above as inspiration for your next group gathering? Or get in touch to find out about our Team Building Training where we can cover the techniques required to achieve a great team spirit – whilst delivering the fun!
Alternatively, check out our MBTI Training or DISC Assessments – both great for team building, whilst also giving you the essential tools to understand and work with your team better.
- Team Building
Updated on: 29 June, 2023
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