# Tag Archives: Problem solving

## 4 of the Best Ice-Breaking, Team Building and Problem Solving Activities

To some employees the words ‘team-building activities’ can bring on a sense of dread. When organised properly, with the good of the employees as a central focus, these days can be a great way to build a good team at work and get to know your peers in a different context.

Here I will suggest a few ideas that can make your team building day a beneficial one, not just one of the dozens they’ve attended before.

To keep your group engaged you need activities that really require thinking and active discussions between team members.

Ideally, for half a day, you’d have 2 ice-breakers, one team-building, and one problem solving activity. So here are the four best activities to provide you with an ideal agenda for a team building session.

Icebreaking

This is a great ice-breaking exercise for groups who aren’t familiar with each other – so ideal for conferences.

Simply get each team member to write down two truths and a lie about themselves, and then share the 3 statements with each other. The aim of the game is to work out which statement is false, whilst learning a bit about everyone in the group – but only reveal the false statement once everyone has taken a guess!

2. The Classification Game

This is a great game to break the ice both in situations where participants know each other well, and where they don’t know each other at all.

Break the team down into small groups, and give them 10 minutes to find out all they can about each other. Then ask every group to come up with three “categories” that describe each person within the team – without being negative, discriminatory or prejudicial – for example, someone could be a “sci-fi fan”, a “toffee popcorn lover”, and a “Twitter addict”. This shows how every person has more to them than meets the eye, and gets everyone to open up.

Team Building

3. The Shipwrecked Game

This exercise gets down to the nitty gritty of team-building – it gets people to voice their opinions, argue their points and come to compromises.

Split your group up into teams of 4-10. Give the teams the scenario that they are about to be shipwrecked on a desert island, and can chose 10 items to take with them. Give them a time limit of 15 minutes, and let them debate!

Problem Solving

4. Toxic Waste Dump

This activity takes a little setting up, but is ideal for really getting people to work together to problem solve.

You will need a bucket filled with water or tennis balls (I would recommend only using water outside), a larger bucket, 8 x 2.5m lengths of cord, 1 x 4m length of rope and a bungee cord loop.

Place the bucket in the middle of the room, and map out a circle around it with the rope, and place the larger bucket about 3m away from the circle. The bucket with balls/water represents a container of “toxic waste” and the circle around it represents the “contamination zone”.

The aim of the game is for the team to move the toxic waste into the larger “toxic waste neutralising” bucket within 30 minutes – but only using the 8 cords and the bungee loop. If they enter the contamination zone they will suffer severe injury, and if they spill the contents of the bucket, or do not complete the task, the world will be destroyed!

These exercises are actually a really great way to get to know your team, build trust between you and establish a working bond. When organising one of these events, plan ahead.

Planning a team building session isn’t easy – you’ll need to make sure you’ve sorted your meeting room hire, and you’ll need around four main activities, and no one wants to be the person who suggests, for the hundredth time, to do the Trust Lean!

Any team building fails you would like to share?

James Duval is blogging genius with a flair for IT, business and education. He blogs for Keele Conference.

Secret wealth is not so secret, if you consider that innovation has made many people into millionaires.  How you might wonder can this be? It is not a mystery.  Creativity and finding new ways to solve old problems typically improves things for everyone.  Every advancement in human society has come from  the individual who has sought to solve an old problem in a new way.  This is innovation.  And innovation is in high demand right now.

Being creative in the workplace is one way to unlock your personal secret wealth.  While you need to use this creativity wisely, within the rules that are established, sometimes approaching your boss with a new solution to a problem can improve overall moral and how work is accomplished within the workplace. When the corporate culture does not encourage innovation then it becomes a dead environment that is dreary to work in.  As the pace of business accelerates it becomes very important to be creative and innovative in problem solving.  Doing things the same old way because “we have always done them” that way is not necessarily the most effective method.

What then is your secret wealth?  It is creativity. Plan and simple.  Tap into this and you can develop ideas and problem solving innovation that improves not only your life but the lives of those around you. You see signs of this everywhere, from the way we communicate to how we stay entertained. Every advancement in society started with innovation and someone seeking a way to solve a problem in a new way.

We might think that everything to be solved has been solved, every problem that we personally can correct has been corrected.  This simply is not true.  Every day we run into a million little problems, from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep.  Picking a problem at work to find another solution to is only one way to make yourself tap into your hidden wealth.  The individual who comes up with the next craze or fad will sit down and solve a common problem with some unexpected innovation.  This could be you.  All you need to do is find a problem in your interests and seek an innovative solution to it.

It is not harder work that makes someone who is rich have that financial windfall.  Nor is it better smarts, education, or talents.  What it is – creativity.  Finding your secret wealth and attaining your goals is as simple as being innovative.  We all have the potential, we just need to tap into it.  Believe that your ideas have merit, you can come up with new solutions to existing problems that are better then the old method used to deal with it, and then be open to the benefits that come your direction from that creative moment.

It is simple.  Give innovation to the world, help those around you with creative solutions to their problems, and reap the benefits from your work like never before. That is your secret wealth.

## Five Essential Skills for a Technology Career

A Career in technology can be interesting, challenging, and lucrative. If you are looking at a career in technology, whether information technology (IT) or something more “blue collar” like industrial engineering, these five essential skills will help you succeed.

Mathematics

Technology careers draw heavily on math. Students should have a good grasp of the various branches of mathematics such as algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus. Whether you will actually use these specific skills every day is unimportant. Understanding math helps you understand essential technology concepts. A computer may do the math for you, but you need to understand it, especially if you are programming the computer to do that math.

Advanced knowledge of mathematics can also help advance your future career. If you want to go from being an IT professional working on the customer side of things to getting involved in the design end, it will be easier if you can speak intelligently about mathematics.

Basic Physics

Most technology fields require at least a cursory knowledge of physics. Your need for deep understanding will depend on the career you choose. Researchers are running advanced simulations to try to understand how the universe was formed. If you don’t understand physics, you’ll have a hard time breaking into this exciting field of study.

Problem Solving

Problems solving is at the heart of information technology. IT workers solve problems every day, all day. They find solutions through hands-on help, guidance, programming new software, inventing new technologies and more.

Learning to approach problems effectively is vital to success in this area. If you can analyze what needs to be done, use creative techniques to find a solution and figure out how to implement it, you have a great head start in a technology career.

Systems Analysis

An analytical mind can look at a problem and logically trace it back to its roots. This skill is especially important for programmers and debuggers. Systems must be broken down into their component parts and dealt with in a specific yet integrated way. Dealing with systems and integrating your insights on the problem can be very helpful in solving technological problems of all sorts.

Communication Skills

Finally, good communication skills are a necessity in this field. Luckily, even poor communicators can improve, especially since most messages will go via email. Students must be able to explain problems and solutions clearly, communicate effectively and make themselves understood while maintaining pleasant and constructive exchanges of information. These skills are not technical ones per se, but they should not be overlooked as part of a technology professional’s core skill set. They are vital to information exchange that is effective, efficient, and cooperative.

Jessica Bosari writes about technology careers for Technology-Colleges.info. Students can find information about many technology jobs, such as computer forensics careers.