Team Workshop

Island Survival

Improve Team Cohesion by enhancing your communication
50-100 minutes
8-20 people
Remote & on-site


This exercise is a very good Ice Breaker for new teams. It increases insight into communication patterns and clarifies roles, leading to improved cooperation and team cohesion. You will learn how to communicate with each other in order to reach a consensus.

Team workshop instructions


  • Provide the following list of items. Write them on a whiteboard or print out a copy for each group. You can adjust the list as you like.



Fishing rod

Pocket knife




Sleeping Bag



Map of the Ocean your Island is surrounded by

A case of army rations

A quantity of mosquito netting

20 square feet of plastic sheeting

2 boxes of chocolate bars

A 25 liter container of water




Bow and arrow



Check-In (5 minutes)

  • Welcome the team and introduce the workshop

Overview:Groups of up to 8 people pretend that they’ve stranded on a deserted island and have to decide on 5 items they want to keep with them.

Goal: Discuss and make decisions as a team to strengthen team cohesion.

Step 1 (5 minutes)

  • Give an introduction

    “Imagine that you have been stranded on a deserted island following a shipwreck, when you discover several items floating in the water close by. Unfortunately there is a strong current so you only get the chance to safe 5 items out of the water.” Divide the team into groups of 4-8 team members.

The Brainstorming excercise is a little Warm Up.

Step 2 (30 minutes)

  • Hand out the list of items or refer to the list on the whiteboard.
  • Remind the teams that they can only keep 5 items.
  • Every group has to determine those 5 items and why they want to keep them.

The teams asks for more information about the island (e.g. vegetation, surroundings)?

Let them be creative and consider their own parameters.

Alternative: Decide on certain things upfront (e.g. location, food that grows there, animals on the island).

While the teams are discussing:

Go from team to team and listen to the way they communicate and interact with each other.

Working remote? You can join each team in a breakout session.

Step 3 (5 minutes/ group)

  • Once the time is up, every team presents their 5 items and explains why they chose those items.

You can count how often each item was chosen by the teams (e.g. on the whiteboard).

Step 4 (5 minutes/ group)

  • The facilitator can ask the following questions to each team. Try to also include the quiet team members.

    Do you feel comfortable with the items you chose as a team?

    How did you agree on the items?

    Did everybody participate in the decision making process?

    Did you feel included in the discussion?

Ending (10 minutes)

  • Summarize the results of each team.
  • Emphasise how team cohesion is shown by this exercise.


“Even though every team member had different knowledge about the items and how they could be used but together, as a team, you were able to come up with the best survival guide. Achieving something as a team strenghens team cohesion.”

First Aid ⛑🩹

Didn’t go as expected? Check out the following tips.

  • The group couldn’t agree on 5 items

    Let the team present on which items they did agree on and on which not. Let them reflect on their decision making process and the reason(s) why their discussion wasn’t insightful.
  • The communication didn’t go well / respectfully

    Let the team members discuss which kind of communication they would have wished for. Let them set some conversation rules for future discussions.
  • Group members weren’t able to share their opinion

    If a group member does not say much on their own, try to include them by asking for their opinion. Emphasize that every opinion is important and valued.

    If a group member dominates the discussion, slow them down and point out that everyone should be included in the decision making process. You can also reflect on each other’s roles in the conversation. Having someone to lead the conversation can be a good thing, as long as everybody else gets the chance to share their thoughts as well.

Got curious?

Discover other team workshops

Role Clarity

Reflect on your Team Role

Analyse internal customer-supplier-relationships across teams to improve Role Clarity

Increasing Self-Awareness

Improve your mindset by increasing awareness

Attention Training

Improve commitment by paying closer attention to others

Everyday Mindset Examples

Improve your mindset by becoming aware of it

Individual Goal Setting

Improve commitment by setting goals

Active Listening

Improve communication by listening

You have a workshop in mind that we should add?
Propose a new workshop & get featured!