Fun group challenges for students
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to have T-shaped people in the workforce. People that are experts in their own field and savvy in many others. These T-shaped people are forming interdisciplinary teams across Business, Arts, Science and Engineering that are working together to create new technology which are helping in areas such as the medical field and helping the environment! The use of interdisciplinary teams is growing across different industries, creating innovative ideas for the future.
So how do we give students a headstart in becoming T-shaped people before they hit the working world? By making them engage in a lot of different aspects of the business world such as working together in interdisciplinary teams. The more experience students have with these different areas, the more easily they’ll be able to understand other people’s point of view and expertise, and the more they’ll be able to collaborate with different types of professionals. For us, that’s been through using many fun challenges through the years with our teams! It gives them a chance to collaborate and brainstorm ideas utlilising aspects of design, marketing, media and psychology!
Below are three challenges we’ve run throughout our years at Enterprise by Design, and why they are so helpful for university students!
For those in the design world, crazy eights is a standard exercise for quick idea generation between groups! For students, this challenge allows them to think on their own and collaboratively, in a quickfire way that makes them focus more on their ideas than second guessing them!
- Divide students into teams and give them pens and A3 paper. Have one student seperate the paper into 8 sections. Have students create ideas around a specific topic such as the design for a product.
- Have someone be the time keeper, each session is going to be 1 minute each.
- Each minute have team members create a different design in the 8 sections of paper.
- Once the team members have filled out each of the 8 boxes, have them all lay out their designs together or pin them on a board side by side.
- Have the students look through the different drawings and pick out their favorite ones. You can have them rate different designs and pick ones to develop further!
- The point of this exercise is to encourage quick idea generation and to create a big group of ideas to share, so encourage students not to worry about perfection, but to focus on creation!
Why we love this challenge…
This challenge is a great way to push students to get out of their heads, create first, then whittle down ideas later! By thinking “big” first, this encourages students not to think and plan out their ideas all at once, and it encourages them to create a process of idea generation when working with other people. As they whittle down options throughout the challenge, they then can begin thinking about quality over quantity, and can hone in on ideas that work best for their group. Once they’ve chosen a couple of ideas to focus on within their group, students learn quickly to shift from focusing on their own ideas, to building off of someone else’s for the benefit of the whole team.
Another design and idea generation exercise, this challenge encourages students to come up with a ton of ideas and then connect those ideas together. This type of collaborative thinking encourages students to think about a myriad of “real world” considerations while they’re creating, from functionality and sustainability, to ingenuity and beauty!
- Provide teams of students with paper, cutting boards, scissors, pens and tape.
- Tell the teams to create designs using the paper and tape and give each team a different objective to their design. We gave our teams directions to create forms that either: Change size, strengthen, articulate, protect, join things and store energy.
- Give the teams around 3 to 4 sessions of around 10 minutes each to create things, asking them to create as many forms as possible within the timed sessions.
- At the end of the sessions, ask the teams to pick out the best of their designs as a group and to display them at the front of the room. (Either put them all on a table together or tape them temporarily to the wall)
- Then ask the groups to vote on different team designs based on different categories such as success, creativity, sustainability, quality of engineering, collaboration, ingenuity and beauty.
- Finally, allow some time for exploration! Tell the teams to join together and see how their designs can connect or build on one another. You can also put some of the designs to test, seeing how they can “protect” items such as eggs or apples!
Why we love this challenge…
There are so many layers of learning in this challenge! From the initial stages of creativity where students are making boxes, cylinders, chains and more, to them questioning different aspects of their designs and then judging other teams on their designs, students learn to create quickly and collaboratively alongside learning how to pinpoint the viability of their ideas. Once all designs are laid out in a large group, the teams get to see just how many forms can be made between them, and how forms can be added together, changed or useful in the future! This is a great way for students to visually see how their ideas can stand alone, but can also be improved upon or link up with other people’s ideas.
It also helps them question factors such as if their design is sustainable, attractive to the eye, and functional, aspects that are often collaborated over across industries about product development. One of our students, Oliver Evans, said of the challenge “Teamwork is something we’re definitely going to evolve on. This is an excellent experience to innovate, strip back the complications and come up with simple ideas together.” To learn more about the challenge, check out our post here.
This filming challenge isn’t just for students interested in media. With just a smartphone, and a few useful techniques, students learn the values of collaboration, storytelling, customer engagement and communication. This is a fun challenge that will call on each of the students to think creatively as well.
- Give students a solid primer in common filming techniques, terminology, and editing styles. Filming basics videos such as this one are a great place to start.
- Divide students into teams. Use a simple task to get them used to the idea of filming; our favourite is “The Handover Task” — take an object from location A to B in the most visually interesting way possible. Encourage the use of different filming techniques, but also remind the students that it should still make sense.
- Now, give the students an object they’ll be promoting in a new video. A business idea, a product or a service that they can make the focal point of their video. You can either choose for students to promote the same idea, or come up with different ones on their own.
- The next step of this task is to take these basic skills and put together a 60 second video advert for their business solution, thinking about how to communicate their idea clearly and effectively.
- At the end of the filming, have each of the teams present their advert in front of each other. Have them give feedback to each other about the advert’s clarity, how they felt as an audience watching each other’s videos and any improvements they could make on the ad if it was made in the future.
Why we love this challenge…
Because with the way the Web works today, any and all new employees in the world of work will need to engage with social media in some way. Understanding how people tell stories, the process they go through to make their videos, or even just an appreciation of the hard work involved, will improve our student’s skills to impress potential employers. Whether a student is studying Film or not, learning about filmmaking benefits everyone.
There are just some of the many challenges our students experience through Enterprise by Design. If you want to learn more about our interdisciplinary program, check out our other blog posts here! Got a suggestion for another group activity for students? Pop them in the comments below!