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  • Writer's pictureIsobel McEwan

3 alternative team building techniques

Teambuilding is a necessary part of building a strong, coherent group of people to work together towards targets and solve problems as they arise. For those organisations looking to embed a culture of innovation, teambuilding is a useful way to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities and place within the broader picture.

Yet despite the importance of teambuilding, such activities can often be clichéd, repetitive and even dull. Precisely because teambuilding is seen as so important, many organisations engage with it so often that is has become commonplace and itself lacking in innovation, with many employees actively dreading being dragged to a teambuilding event.

Clearly this is problematic and indicates that creativity and innovation must be employed to bring a new lease of life to company techniques. Here are three ways you can do just that.


Quite far from the conventional teambuilding activity, talking about photography can in fact bring multiple benefits that more common techniques cannot.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) contributor Tammie Plouffe recently suggested that managers and team leaders should skip icebreakers and talk about photography if they want to build a connection between their team members. Plouffe suggests that even

the simplest photographs ‘instantly ignite emotions and associations — without a written or spoken word. And because the reaction is physiological, it happens in seconds.’

According to Plouffe, by displaying a photo at the start of a meeting and encouraging discussion ‘photos can create connections between people faster — and more profoundly — than any other icebreaker or team-building activity.’ Creating a feeling of safety and comfortableness with your surroundings and fellow colleagues is important if teams are going to share ideas and personal insights, which ultimately leads to better problem solving and a greater capacity for innovation.


Teambuilding is something which is done with frequency, particularly when in large corporate companies with multiple teams and offices spread across countries and even continents.

One way that one of the UK’s biggest sectors, the NHS, is dealing with the demands of teambuilding is to outsource it to a chatbot. According to New Scientist, a chatbot recently developed by London HR

company Saberr called CoachBot is being trialled by the NHS and other companies such as Unilever and Logitech. The Bot ‘asks about workplace dynamics and provides the team with reports’ to look into grievances and identify problems, before creating a plan to come up with a solution.

The Bot also asks questions about inter-colleague trust and productivity in order to identify team goals that everyone can work towards and ways to boost morale if the mood is low. However, despite being based on pure management science there are of course limits to the use of a bot for teambuilding, since as yet such artificial intelligence initiatives do not have the emotional intelligence that working with a human can bring.


In much the same way that talking about photography can evoke emotional responses from people, using art-based workshops to bring people together and create a collaborative piece of work can be a great alternative to a static team building meeting which is often passive in nature.

Drawing is a great way to engage with this artistic side, and as such think has created a tailored workshop called ‘Drawing on The Right Side.’ The aim of the workshop is for your thoughts and ideas to be literally ‘drawn’ out using a facilitator and illustrator. Throughout the workshop artists work with our clients in order to create unique images which become a lasting reference and touch point for all participants to refer back to as a reminder of the teambuilding and the goals that were set in the meeting.

Whatever your reason for teambuilding, there is no need for it to be stuffy and clichéd. By engaging with innovative approaches to such integral elements of organisational culture, you can ensure your employees are engaged with your aims and that your teams are working at their best capacity.

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