Problem solving is one of the most basic skills to learn, be it in the professional or personal context. There are numerous problem-solving activities you can adopt and hone this skill thus.
The fact is that any situation, function, activity (and whatever other context you can think of) will have the emerging of problems at one point or the other in its course. Nothing can function smoothly from beginning to end. In that way, problems are a natural part of life, no matter what context they are placed under. The most effective thing to do therefore, is to develop the skills of problem solving. An innate understanding of how to tackle any problem head on will give one the confidence that no matter what situation they find themselves in, they have the capacity to come out of the same.
Learning the varied skills of problem solving especially helps in the professional world because one is required to work in a group for the sake of a bigger goal. While there are several ways in which problem-solving tactics can be learned, in this article we will focus on some of the most effective group problem-solving activities for adults.
Problem Solving Group Games
Why group games? For the simple reason that there is nothing quite as effective as games, to get one to learn the basics of problem solving. When you put it in the form of games, it takes the pressure off ‘learning’ something. You enjoy playing it instead and learn in the process. It’s as simple as that.
Blind Man’s Web
This game requires a lot of concentration, the ability to instruct correctly and to not crumble under pressure. Divide the group into teams of equal members. Provide them with a ball of wool that they have to use to create a web. Ask the teams to make the web in the designated area provided for them, without using any tapes or the like. Once the teams are done creating their individual webs, switch the teams into a different web so that the difficulty level increases.
Blindfold one member of the team and let him at the web, while his team members have to give him instructions on how to go about solving the web and retrieving the line of wool as is. Give them a calculated amount of time for solving this one. The team that manages to solve the web first, wins.
The No-Crack Egg
Divide the group into teams of equal numbers. Provide each of these teams with materials like straws, newspapers, cello tape, string, cardboard material and 1 raw egg. The objective of the game is to prepare an egg cover using the items provided, such that when the egg is thrown from a height of 15 feet, it should not crack.
Let’s Round Up
Divide the group into teams with equal members. Ask each team to stand in a circle. Now ask them to extend their right hand and grab hold of the right hand of another member in the team. Once everyone has done that, ask them to do the same with their left hand. When the group is all tied up like so, give them a time of 10-15 minutes in which they have to free themselves and form a circle again. The only condition? They can’t let go of their hands while they are doing that. A person needs to keep a watch on everyone while they are doing the exercise. If anyone’s hand slips out, the team is disqualified. The team that manages to free themselves and form a circle first, wins.
List of To-Dos
A take on the scavenger hunt game, this one provides for a whole lot of entertainment while bringing the skills of problem solving into the picture. The group is divided into teams and they are provided a list of to-do activities that they have to solve to get to the big prize. These activities are a mix of both – simple and tough. List activities like solving a puzzle, writing a poem on a particular theme, physical activities like retrieving a packet from the company lobby, drinking 5 glasses of milk, etc. This activity requires for continued levels of motivation to last throughout the course of the exercise. The team that manages to stay motivated and work through the tension and adrenaline rush to complete all the activities, wins.
Write down a couple of situations that deal with everyday events. It could be any simple situation like dealing with an incompetent salesperson or dealing with an irate customer over the phone – anything that is challenging. Write in as many characters in the situation as possible. Divide the people in groups and then ask each group to pick out chits. Each group is given a calculated time to prepare a skit based on the situation. A panel of judges will judge the best act. This activity requires tremendous planning skills and the ability to handle a stressful situation.
The group is divided into teams of equal members. Each team is provided with a number of deflated balloons, water, water guns and an empty bucket. The objective of the game is that some members fill the balloons with water and then throw it over to their team members (who are standing at a calculated distance from them). They have to catch the balloons and put it in the bucket. It might seem to be a very simple game, but there will be that time until the team learns just how much water to fill in the balloon, how to throw it and the best technique to catch it so that the balloon doesn’t burst. The team that manages to learn and follow this will have less bursting of balloons and a higher chance of winning.
This is a simple problem-solving activity and one that most of us have played in our childhood. Divide the group into teams and provide them with building blocks and a model that they have to duplicate in a given time frame. The team that manages to do that first, wins. Keep the difficulty level high for more effect. The key is to be able to work with so many people giving so many instructions all together.
Group problem-solving activities can be of several kinds, and depending on the group that you’re dealing with, you can choose some that will suit the group in question in the best possible manner.
Leaving the fun quotient aside, these games truly help develop the required skills for problem solving.