Spark team building without ice-breakers... and boost creativity

When new teams come together or when managers facilitate meetings of all sorts, they often use icebreakers to create a safe comfort zone among participants and lower the barriers to share ideas. Sometimes these sessions occur with a diverse group of people, who have never worked together, and often have not even met each other before. The challenge is always to create a sense of team, to get people comfortable working together, and to minimize any impediment to sharing ideas freely.
This session presents a set of exercises that bring together many ideas from all the team building experiments I conducted over the years, in a simple format. These exercises engage the right side of the brain, and mix visual, verbal, and kinesthetic experiences, so they works for various types of learning styles. The exercises push participants to use drawing - any kind of drawing - to share ideas with team members. The drawing process can be unnerving, and will undoubtedly push many beyond their comfort zone. This process in itself creates a bond amongst the participants, as they all confront a common challenge. The goal is sharing, not quality. The exercises become just a fun way to create an opportunity for social bonding among team members.
These exercises can be used for teams of any size, are easy to setup, and deliver positive energy since their first use. Enjoy your Spark creativity!

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

This is an interactive workshop where participants experience first-hand how to use drawing to spark team-building and creativity.

The participants should be divided into teams of 4-6 people, around a table. They will do the exercise by drawing and then sharing with the rest of their team. I'll open the session with a brief intro, and close with an explanation of why this works.

The exercises are based on a book I recently published: "The Spark Engine", and I'll make a few copies available in the class to use.

 

 

Learning Outcome

Learn how to use creative drawing to foster a culture of team-building and discovery.

Learn why traditional ice-breakers don't work

 

Target Audience

managers, coaches, trainers, executives, facilitators - anyone engaged in team building and ideation processes

Prerequisite

None

 

schedule Submitted 1 month ago

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  • Manoj Vadakkan
    By Manoj Vadakkan  ~  4 weeks ago
    reply Reply

    I kind of like this but I do share George's concern. Like many people, I am one of those who insist that I can't draw - or I use to be. Have you had this session presented at a conference with the same title? What happened there? Is there a way you can try not to scare me away with that title suggesting that I need to be creating and have to draw something in this session? :-)  

    • Valerio Zanini
      By Valerio Zanini  ~  4 weeks ago
      reply Reply

      I see your point. We don't want people to self-select based on their perceived ability in drawing.

      Thinking about a new title, something like "How to spark team building without ice-breakers"?

  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  4 weeks ago
    reply Reply

    Valerio,

    Who will this session session description attract and how will they use the material?

    There's not enough in the outline/structure for reviewers to understand what will happen in the session. Also, how do you accommodate people who insist that they can't draw?

     - George

    • Valerio Zanini
      By Valerio Zanini  ~  4 weeks ago
      reply Reply

      Hi George,

      The session is designed for anyone who manages or facilitates a team: managers, POs, Agile coaches, etc.

      The exercises are from the book The Spark Engine that I created. The participants will experience first-hand how using the exercises can foster team building and creativity in any team. They will do the exercises at their tables, in teams of 4 to 6 people.

      Drawing skills are not necessary. Actually, an expert designer may not have an advantage compared to someone who has never drawn before. The essence of the exercise is not in the quality of the drawing, but in taking a creative leap using the provided prompts and draw a persona experience that the person wants to share with others.

      I've used these exercises in a multitude of settings, industries, and teams, and have always found that people are interested in trying and they learn something from others.

       

       


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