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Problem Solving Icebreakers and Energisers

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There are many different processes, methods or techniques that can be used when problem solving and participants will see how important a thorough investigation, idea generation and evaluation, decision making and successful implementation are when finding a creative solution.

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100 Uses - Brainstorming

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To explain what brainstorming involves.
• To identify some key 'rules' for effective brainstorming

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To explain what brainstorming involves.
• To identify some key 'rules' for effective brainstorming

Group Size:
Suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• A selection of household items like a toothbrush or coat hanger.
• Flipchart paper and pens.
A selection of Mr Sketch Scented Flipchart Markers can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
A small prize for the winning team would be a nice touch.

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Balloon Chase - Creative Problem Solving

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 10 minutes.

Aims:
• To illustrate how assumptions about the nature of a task or problem can get in the way of finding solutions.
• To explore how creativity can help solve problems and encourage continuous improvement.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 5 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 10 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To illustrate how assumptions about the nature of a task or problem can get in the way of finding solutions.
• To explore how creativity can help solve problems and encourage continuous improvement.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
One inflated balloon. (We recommend having a couple of spares.)

Notes:
We’d like to thank Resli Costabell for inspiring this icebreaker.

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Brain Power Quiz

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 15 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide further information about the capacity of the human brain.
• To challenge some of the myths surrounding intelligence.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To provide further information about the capacity of the human brain.
• To challenge some of the myths surrounding intelligence.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

You'll Need:
• A small prize for the winning team.
• A stopwatch to time the quiz accurately.
(Stopwatches are available to purchase from Trainers' Market.)

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Quiz
Answer Sheet

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Course Introduction - A Basic Introduction to Training Events

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To welcome the participants.
• To introduce the facilitator(s) and participants to each other.
• To introduce the facilities.
• To agree the course objectives and timetable.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 25 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To welcome the participants.
• To introduce the facilitator(s) and participants to each other.
• To introduce the facilities.
• To agree the course objectives and timetable.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

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Dominoes

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To explore and test leadership, teamwork and problem solving.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To explore and test leadership, teamwork and problem solving.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of almost any size although you do need a minimum of 8 participants.

Useful For:
All staff including managers.

You'll Need:
A set of domino cards. (See trainer's notes for the number you need to print.)

Notes:
You will need to prepare your dominoes in advance as per the instructions in the Trainer's Notes.

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Fitting In

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 10 minutes.

Aims:
• To explore how creativity and teamwork makes problem solving easier.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 5 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 10 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To explore how creativity and teamwork makes problem solving easier.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of almost any size. However, you will need to put participants into teams if you have over 16 participants.

You'll Need:
• One set of the cards per 16 participants.

Notes:
If you expect to run this exercise on more than one occasion, consider laminating the cards.

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Five Balls - Goal Setting and Motivation

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To energise participants.
• To demonstrate the value of breaking major projects down into small goals.
• To demonstrate how positive thinking will impact upon results.
• To demonstrate effective teamwork.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete (longer for large groups). In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To energise participants.
• To demonstrate the value of breaking major projects down into small goals.
• To demonstrate how positive thinking will impact upon results.
• To demonstrate effective teamwork.

Group Size:
Suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• A large open space.
• A stopwatch.
• Five balls (tennis, juggling or stress balls are ideal).
Stress balls and Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
If using this exercise with very large groups, you will need to split participants into smaller teams.

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Getting Knotted - Working Together to Solve a Challenge

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To test participants’ abilities to work together and solve a problem.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to run. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To test participants’ abilities to work together and solve a problem.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of between 6 and 24 participants.

You'll Need:
Two lengths of string (approximately 30cm long) for each participant.

Notes:
This exercise involves bending and twisting and may not be suitable for all participants. Please remind participants to take care in this exercise.

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Goal! - Teamwork and Lateral Thinking

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think laterally about a problem.
• To encourage participants to work together in order to simplify a task and achieve a better result.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think laterally about a problem.
• To encourage participants to work together in order to simplify a task and achieve a better result.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of up to 25 participants.

You'll Need:
• Soft balls (4-6 will do).
• A bucket.
• 2 large large newspapers (rolled up).
• 2 blindfolds.
Stress Balls and Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
You can run this outside, or inside if you’ve sufficient space.

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Inspired Rhymes

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 15 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think creatively.
• To help participants feel more confident in their ability to think creatively.
• To recognise the positive impact another person’s ideas can have on our own thoughts.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think creatively.
• To help participants feel more confident in their ability to think creatively.
• To recognise the positive impact another person’s ideas can have on our own thoughts.

Group Size:
Suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• Enough cards for 1 for every pair of participants.

Notes:
A great exercise to energise a group at the start of a creative thinking or problem solving workshop, or to re-energise them after a break. Larger groups may require duplicate cards and a longer running time.

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Jigsaw Race - An Introduction to Communication

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To test participants' communication skills.
• To demonstrate the importance of breaking complex messages down into key points.
• To illustrate the difficulties of communicating using only the voice.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to run. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To test participants' communication skills.
• To demonstrate the importance of breaking complex messages down into key points.
• To illustrate the difficulties of communicating using only the voice.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

You'll Need:
• A blindfold and a small jigsaw puzzle for each pair of participants. (24-30 piece puzzles are ideal.)

These items can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

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Loop the Hoop - Improving our Solutions

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 15 minutes.

Aims:
• To energise a group of participants.
• To encourage teamwork and team problem solving.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 5 minutes to run. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To energise a group of participants.
• To encourage teamwork and team problem solving.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of 5 or more participants. If you have more than 10 participants, split them into smaller teams.

You'll Need:
• Hula Hoops (1 or 2 per team).
• A stopwatch. These can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
This exercise may not be suitable for some people with a disability.

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Shared Effort - The Importance of Teamwork

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 15 minutes.

Aims:
• To illustrate the nature and importance of teamwork in a fun way.
• To help teams define teamwork.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To illustrate the nature and importance of teamwork in a fun way.
• To help teams define teamwork.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• One ‘Bendy Person’ for each participant (available to purchase from Trainers' Market).
• One A3 sheet of paper for each participant. (Please note that A4 is not large enough.)

Notes:
This icebreaker is based on an idea contributed by Kim Davies.

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Stepping Stones - Team Development

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage team development.
• To focus discussion on the team's approach to problem solving, communication, success and failure and team leadership.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To encourage team development.
• To focus discussion on the team's approach to problem solving, communication, success and failure and team leadership.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of between 8 and 12 participants.

You'll Need:
• One stepping stone per participant plus one extra. (A stepping stone could be a sheet of paper, or a carpet tile.) Alternatively, you could use Throw Down Marker Lines (available to buy from Trainers' Market).

• Plenty of space.

Notes:
If you have an odd number of participants, ask someone to observe.

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The Chicken and the Fox - Clever Problem Solving

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 10 minutes.

Aims:
• To help participants understand the benefits of working with others when tackling problems and challenges.
• To explain why taking time to nurture ideas helps us to tell the good ideas from the bad ones.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to run. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To help participants understand the benefits of working with others when tackling problems and challenges.
• To explain why taking time to nurture ideas helps us to tell the good ideas from the bad ones.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Downloads
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Handout
PowerPoint

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The Thinking Brain - Preferred Thinking Styles

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 15 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about their preferred thinking style.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes for completion.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about their preferred thinking style.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• Nothing other than the materials provided.

Downloads
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Too Close? - Benefits of a Wider Perspective

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To illustrate, in a fun way, the problem with being too close to a situation or problem.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 5 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 10 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To illustrate, in a fun way, the problem with being too close to a situation or problem.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

You'll Need:
• A small prize for the winner would be a nice addition to this exercise.

Notes:
The PowerPoint will automatically move to the next slide after a minute.

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Handout

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