How Team Building Activities Can Develop Problem Solving Skills!

Picture of a rubix cube problem solving activity

Team building activities are a great way to develop problem solving skills amongst a group or team.  they are great fun and naturally encourage teamwork and communication between team members as well.

Although the scenarios that the teams will face during these activities may not be directly relevant to the workplace (I’m guessing your team aren’t going to be required to construct a rollercoaster as part of their day to day job), it’s about the process and how individuals and teams approach the problem that they are faced with that is key.

The great thing about these problem solving activities is the different ways teams solve the problems. As you can imagine, there are lots of different ways to solve most of these challenges, all of which are totally valid. But what’s interesting is seeing how the teams arrive at the solution.

This is true of the workplace too. In our day to day working life, many of us face problems and challenges that we need to overcome. Often, there are multiple ways to solve these problems and so how do we reach a solution? Do we work individually to solve the problem, or do we consult the wider team? Is there a specialist in the area you are having a problem with?

In our view, the key to successful problem solving is having a tried and tested process, strategy, or approach in place that you can call upon when you need to. Team building activities which are tailored towards problem solving are a great way to create and develop this.

Our Top Group Problem Solving Activities

1. Mobile Escape Rooms

Mobile escape rooms are a brilliant problem solving activity and really get teams thinking outside of the box. With lots of hidden clues, challenges, and tasks for the teams to complete, there is something for everyone.

There are four different rooms to choose from, each of which has different types of problems for the groups to solve and overcome to escape. Depending upon the time you have available and the size of your group, you can choose to complete 2, 3, or even all 4 rooms during your problem solving activity.

2. Crystal Maze Team Building Activity

The Crystal maze team building activity is perhaps the most famous team building problem solving activity. Although his activity can be run indoors (if you have enough space) it is predominantly an outdoor activity and involves teams of around 8 – 10 people revolve around four different zones (just like the classic TV programme). In each zone the teams will face a different problem which they must solve and complete together to earn a coveted crystal from our team.

The teams with the most crystals at the end of the activity will get to enter the Crystal Dome where they will need to grab as many golden tickets as they can in their allotted time. The team that collects the most golden tickets is declared the winner.

3. Rollercoaster

Rollercoaster is our absolute favourite collaborative problem solving activity. The basic premise of this activity is that teams need to construct a rollercoaster using the materials provided which can transport a ball from one end to the other without stopping or falling off. The concept is simple (which is one of the reasons this activity is so great) but it really gest teams thinking and being creative. As with many team building problem solving activities, there is more than one way to correctly complete the challenge and so it is up to the teams to decide on how they are going to approach the problem.

This group problem solving activity is structured so that each team is responsible for creating one section of the rollercoaster. However, they will need to liaise and work closely with the other teams to ensure that all of the different sections fit together and work correctly. This adds another element to the event that teams (and individuals) need to consider.

4. Mission Impossible

Mission impossible is another classic group problem solving activity which is very similar in concept to the Crystal Challenge. The main different (other than the challenges and tasks are different of course) is that teams are trying to find the identity of a spy. Each time they successfully complete one of the problem solving exercises they are faced with, they will receive a piece of crucial information that will help them narrow down the list of suspects.

5. Hot Rods Team Building Problem Solving Activity

Hot Rods is another great collaborative problem solving activity. During this event teams are challenged to build an all singing, all dancing free standing racetrack using the materials provided (namely, huge cardboard sheets). At the end of the activity, the group will race a remote controlled car across the race track from the start, all the way to the finish.

As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, each team is provided with a set of specifications or requirements for their individual section of racetrack which they must incorporate into their ‘build’. These specifications vary but could include a bridge, a chicane, a hairpin bend, or even a loop the loop.

6. Krypton Factor

Krypton factor revolves around a series of classic command tasks that teams must work together to complete. Each task will typically present the team with a problem which they must overcome as quickly as possible using the material provided.

This is a fun activity and includes lots of short challenges, so teams are moving around and active all of the time.

7. Virtual Murder Mystery Activities

Virtual murder mystery activities have been hugely popular over the past two years whilst teams have been working remotely and they are a great option if you are looking for a low cost, high impact team building problem solving activity. Each activity is run using a unique gameplay app which participants download onto a smartphone or tablet in advance of the event. The app is loaded full of cryptic clues, hidden messages, augmented reality challenges, and crucial evidence that teams need to work their way through and decipher in order to solve the murder and catch the killer.

Each of these group problem solving activities is run and managed remotely by a professional event host and will typically last for around 90 minutes from start to finish. The great thing about these activities is that they can be run either face to face, or virtually via Zoom (or an alternative video conferencing package).