team bulding in design

I always thought team building exercises were complete BS. However, I’m in an organizational behaviour class now and looking over some of the studies, I’m getting convinced. Now that I run a small design department, I was considering doing some team building exercises here.

Anyone have any that they found particularly inspiring? Anything that is more design-oriented?

Previously I’ve visited design shows with the full design team. This provided us time as a team away from the rest of the office enabling us to talk about things out of earshot of other departments and also talk about different aspects of design with regards to what we were looking at at the time. This helped reinvigorate those who were getting ground down by the monotony of their workload at the time. It also provided the opportunity to bond over a few beers whilst it was enough of a legitimate design activity to get signed off by the MD to be undertaken during work time.

My perspective is that any activity outside of a work activity falls into the team building category.

I like having each person in the team present and then lead the activity. I also like them to have the activity as their personal interest. For example, we have a fly fishing nut. He presented and lead us on a fly fishing excursion at the local lake.

Everyone on the team gets to lead and share an outside passion.

I am not sure if this is what you are looking for but here is what we have done that helps build community but I wouldn’t necessarily call them a team building exercises.

1 - Morning Teas - We have about 20 people and once a week someone will bring/make morning tea for everyone.
2 - We entered a team into a 100km walk to fundraise for charity and the weekly training was a really good time to chat about life rather than work.
3 - DDO - I will organise Designer Day Outs where we go and visit a range of different places that are not in the same industry but sort of relate to what we are trying to achieve, or to inspire us, or to find out about processes, or because it relates to our target customer. For example a design studio, high end furniture shops, art places, local craftsmen.


MAS: I think those are great ideas.

iab: I like shifting the responsibility onto my employees:)

Same on the DDOs. I call them Reset days. We go out, see stuff, observe people outside our 4 walls. Everyone takes pictures and then we come back to the office the next day and talk about what we saw. It is like a free form scavenger hunt.

We play lots of Ping Pong too.

Birthdays are also a BIG deal here. Sometimes we get cakes made in the shape of products people worked on. My last birthday cake below.

Everyone here loves your birthday cake. It looks tasty too!