5 Great Problem Solving Scenarios for Work

large question mark sculpture at Ipswich

Introducing some problem solving scenarios at work can be a great way to improve the critical thinking abilities of your employees. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are one of the most important aspects of building a strong team. Let’s take a look at some quick, ice-breaking problem solving exercises you can implement in the workplace!

5 Great Problem Solving Scenarios for Work

  1. Office Scavenger Hunt
  2. The Leg Challenge
  3. Human Knot
  4. Blindfold Puzzle
  5. Build a House of Cards

1) Office Scavenger Hunt

man and woman completing scavenger hunt near a sculptureAn office scavenger hunt can get everyone moving while trying to decipher hints and clues that will lead you to the final destination! The best part about a scavenger hunt: you can make the clues as difficult or as easy as you would like. Are you looking to really challenge your team and test their problem solving ability? Give some difficult clues! Are you looking for a more relaxed activity to promote camaraderie? Make the clues a little bit easier! A scavenger hunt is very flexible, can be as long, short, easy, or difficult as you’d like! Check out some ideas for your scavenger hunt here!

2) The Leg Challenge

two teams competing in a three legged race

The Leg Challenge is a short and simple problem solving scenario to introduce to your office! Here’s how it works:

  1. Split your group into two even teams
  2. Place some cones down about 15 yards apart
  3. Have both teams start on the same side with each team’s arms interlocked
  4. Teams will run from one set of cones to the other, however, each time a team reaches a set of cones, they must keep one fewer leg on the ground to run to the next set of cones. (ex. Two teams of 6 are competing. They begin with 12 legs, but then must use 11 legs after reaching the first set of cones)
  5. The first team to successfully make it between the two sets of cones with only 25% of their total legs wins! (ex. Two teams of 6 are competing. The first team to successfully reach a set of cones using only 3 legs wins!)
  6. If a team fails to reach a set of cones during the challenge, the team must return to the set of cones they began that leg at and try again.

3) Human Knot

group of coworkers untangling a human knotYou probably remember doing a human knot in elementary school – but nothing compares to a human knot done with your entire office. Groups of anywhere from 6 to 20 people are ideal! Here’s how it works. Everyone will gather in a circle and hold the hands of two other people in the circle, excluding those directly next to them. Your right hand should always be holding a right hand and your left hand should always be holding a left hand. As the name of the game suggests, your goal is to untangle the human knot of arms you have created without ever letting go of the hands you’re holding.

If your group would like more of a challenge, try this activity with half of the group blindfolded to really test your communication skills!

4) Blindfold Puzzle

woman with brown hair and brown blindfold touching her faceMake sure you have a bit of open space to move around for this one. First, split your group into two teams and have each team designate one captain. Your captain will be the only teammate without a blindfold. The rest of your team will pair up with another member of the team and lock arms while blindfolded. Once the game begins, the team captain is tasked with leading their blindfolded teammates to retrieve puzzle pieces hidden around the space using only their voice. Once a team collects all of their puzzle pieces, they can remove their blindfolds and begin to solve the puzzle. The first team to successfully solve the puzzle wins!

Don’t have a puzzle on hand? Make one yourself! A puzzle can be as simple as cutting out some letters and having players unscramble them into a certain word or phrase!

5) Build a House of Cards

large tower of playing cards in pyramid formationWarning: don’t try this activity if your office is too drafty! Building a house of cards is the ultimate problem solving test. With something as little as a sneeze bringing the entire card tower down, this activity may be the most intense on the list. Divide your group into teams of 2-3 and give each team a deck of cards. In an allotted amount of time, have each team attempt to build the tallest card tower possible. Whichever team successfully constructs the tallest house of cards wins!

Looking for a great problem solving activity for your office? Try Team Building Kits!