"So put your half pyramid with the
black triangle next to mine and
“Is that the big triangle or the
little kite on the triangle?”
“Kite? What kite?”
“And which way did we say was
If you are familiar with Colourblind®, Simbols is a great follow-up exercise!
is a challenging activity that addresses communication skills, team planning and
implementation, process improvement and team leadership in a lively,
although at times frustrating, way. It can be done in two different ways, either as a whole team (ideally between 5-15 people) or as three sub-teams, each responsible for part of the task. The exercise takes approximately 45 minutes, followed by a review to focus on the skills needed to ensure that a task is "right first time".
As they work together to assemble a visual puzzle, team members need to
do three things:
- Set up and manage an effective communication system that everyone
understands and can use efficiently.
- Develop a dialogue which will lead to a common understanding of
- Deliver, against very tight time and quality targets, a successful
solution to the problem they face.
Here are some recent applications of Simbols that we know about.
- Preparing for a product launch
- Allowing managers to develop a strategic plan for their teams to
- Identifying different learning and thinking styles in a team
- Working in three remote sub-teams to complete a joint project
- Making transitions between large and small group working
- Refining a process to improve operational performance
- Recognizing diversity in teams, the different perceptions that
people bring to a situation and how easily this can cause misunderstanding
- Reaching agreement about a strategy in a situation in which
many viable options exists
What do I get?
A carefully researched and designed group learning activity from RSVP Design. The activity uses a lightweight single-sided, metallic write-on /wipe-off board supplied with the game materials. The activity comes complete with a set of magnetic components, full participant briefing instructions, facilitator's manual and a suggested review process, based upon predicted learning outcomes.
How does it work?
Up to 30 individuals receive printed coloured cards which have to be assembled, under challenging conditions, into a complete pattern. The participants need to act quickly to to set up a new and efficient communication process, improve and develop this and then use it to implement a solution against tight time deadlines.Excellent communication is not enough: the team must also demonstrate
excellent project planning and process improvement. Teams respond to
the challenge the activity offers, enjoying ‘pitting their wits’ against the
problem and seeing tangible proof of improving performance. In addition,
they develop key skills that are of significant value in team briefing,
coaching, instructing and delegating task responsibility to others.
What are the learning outcomes?
The facilitator determines the key learning through the use of the review process. Key learning can be identified in areas of:
- Achieving shared understanding between individuals and sub-groups
- Offering support and alternative communication strategies to others
- Taking opportunities to improve performance and quality
- Managing time and information under pressure
- Agreeing an acceptable level of risk in developing solutions