Leading an Icebreaker Exercise for Creatives

​Recently we added three people to our UX group, and we decided to do a team bonding activity to welcome our new team members. Of course, this decision was made in a meeting I did not attend, and therefore I was elected to lead the effort. :) Which turned out find, as I don't mind this kind of stuff. And I had an idea in mind...

I recently took a class at the School of Visual Concepts, and our instructor, David Kendall, had us do a collage icebreaker that I thought would be perfect for this group.

I blocked out two hours on everyone's calendars and found a room that was far away from our desks to encourage everyone to disconnect from their day-to-day workspace. Before the gathering, the team was asked to bring with them ~5 magazines and scissors; I brought the glue and large paper. No other instructions were given, intentionally -- I wanted folks to be curious.

Once we all got together, I asked everyone to work with the magazines and supplies to make a "selfie" collage. To cut out and glue images and words that represented self-interests and values, but omit their names. They were to avoid letters and text (no ransom notes, please!) to focus on imagery and emotion. We had some bad 90's rock playing in the background, and soon everyone was relaxed and focused on creating what was in front of them.

After about a half hour I asked everyone to wrap up and then collected the collages. From there I handed the collages back out anonymously, so no one had their own. Then each person, one by one, stood up to describe the collage they had and what they assumed about the person, and then we all guessed who we thought the collage belonged to.

This was a really fun and relaxing exercise, and we all learned so much about each other, even those who I have worked closely with for years. Especially great for the new folks, who were able to learn a lot about their new teammates in a short amount of time and a good activity for both introverts and extroverts. Definitely a fun icebreaker and the feedback afterward was positive.

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