This exercise helps delegates to practice communication skills. In particular it focuses on observation skills, how to describe something in simple yet meaningful ways and how to provide feedback. It is an ideal exercise for team building as it helps to improve inter-team communication.
Build an identical sculpture based on the observations made in short intervals by different members of your team.
What You Need
- Clay or any set of building materials that can be used to build a sculpture.
- Tools to make sculpture using the materials provided
- One or more premade sculptures. The sculpture(s) should not be too complex and it should be possible to make them in about 30 minutes.
- Panels to create a separate area which is not easily visible by delegates while they are working.
- Divide the delegates to groups of 4.
- Provide clay or building materials so all groups can easily access them.
- Explain that you have a premade sculpture that you will not show them at this point. The objective is that each team must make an identical sculpture to the premade one using the materials provided.
- You can run this exercise in two different ways:
- Use one sculpture for all groups. All groups will be making an identical sculpture from the single premade sculpture. However, you need to be careful in isolating the groups so they cannot see each other’s work, overhear each other or borrow from each other’s ideas.
- Use a unique sculpture for each group. Each group will be aiming to make a replica of a different sculpture so there won’t be any issues in terms of overhearing or borrowing ideas.
- Place the premade sculpture(s) in the hidden corner behind the panels. Teams should not be able to see the premade sculpture(s) other than the method provided below.
- Each team can send one person forward to observe and report back on their premade sculpture. This member has 30 seconds to look at the sculpture to get the details and memorise them. He should then go back to his team and instruct them on replicating the sculpture.
- Now teams have 2 minutes to work on their sculpture.
- When the time is up, each team can send another member to go and observe the premade sculpture for 30 seconds. He should then go back to his team and instruct them as before.
- Allocate another 2 minutes for the teams to continue building.
- Repeat the process until all members have been sent over to observe and report back.
- Teams must use all members equally for the observation task. They cannot send the same member over and over again.
- Continue with the observation-build activity starting from the first team member again and repeat until a group is happy with their creation. Record the time it took them to make their sculpture.
- If one group is finished, other groups can continue until they are happy with their creations as well.
- In any case, stop the exercise after 30 minutes.
- Bring back everyone together and ceremoniously reveal the premade sculpture(s). Get teams to compare their works with the premade sculpture(s).
- The group who has made the closest approximation in the shortest time wins.
- Follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes
Activity: 30 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
How well did you do in this exercise? How did you coordinate your communication and observation? Did you use a strategy to increase the efficiency of your team? What did the winning team do that led to their success? What was the most important lesson you learned in this exercise?
To make the task more difficult you can limit the duration of the exercise. The group that has created the closest replica in the given time wins. For this, you might need to use the same premade sculpture for all groups so comparisons are fair.