6 New Takes on Teambuilding: Flash Mobs, Dance-Offs, iPod Scavenger Hunts

It’s hard to motivate a group with the same old games. Here are six new alternatives to tried-and-true exercises for summer associates and corporate picnics.

By Lisa Cericola April 4, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of One Smooth Stone

1. The New Outdoor Activity: Downers Grove, Illinois-based event and communication agency One Smooth Stone recently helped 250 employees from Chicago financial services company Infinium Capital Management stage their own flash mob. The firm collaborated with the group to create a performance concept, then provided a training video with choreography so they could practice in advance. On the day of the event, 20 professional dance instructors and two choreographers rehearsed the group before capturing the performance in Millenium Park on video. The company works worldwide; pricing varies.

2. The New Philanthropic Experience: Instead of assembling teddy bears or bicycles, Northern California-based Corporate Games offers a landscaping project where groups plant the backyards of Habitat for Humanity houses. Teams of 10 interview the residents, create a plan, and then shop for plants and other supplies. In the end, each team gives a presentation about its design.

3. The New Cooking Class: Try a cake designing competition like “You Take the Cake” from southern New Jersey-based Teambuilders Plus. Teams decide on a theme, and then sculpt and decorate sheet cakes. Before digging into their creations, they must create commercials to present the cake to the rest of the group. Pricing starts at $3,000 for groups of as many as 25, plus a $40 material fee per person.

4. The New Art Project: Groups of as many as 200 can try their hand at ice sculpting, available from Teambonding. Instructors lead groups in designing, building, and lighting an original sculpture. The project takes around two hours; pricing starts at $2,000.

5. The New Scavenger Hunt: Try an iPod Touch hunt, available from Orlando’s Wildly Different. Teams use the devices to collect clues and solve timed challenges through the use of video, the Internet, music, photos, and podcasts. The game can be tailored around a company’s information, and lasts about three hours. Pricing starts at $75 per person.

6. The New Relay Race: Get your group moving and tap into the TV dance competition craze with a dance-off such as “So You Think Your Team Can Dance?” by Teambuilding Unlimited. In a hotel ballroom, conference room, or any open space, groups will learn steps from professional choreographers, and then perform routines for prizes. Pricing starts at $2,000.

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