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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
You can count how often each item was chosen by the teams (e.g. on the whiteboard).
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?
Example“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.”
Didn’t go as expected? Check out the following tips.
The group couldn’t agree on 5 itemsLet 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 / respectfullyLet 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 opinionIf 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.