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Alice Ma

Fortune Pharmacal Co. Ltd.

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

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Game activity requested


My boss has put up a work perspective ---- "Simple is magic"!  She wants me to find a game activity for 100 managers to illustrate this perspective.  I sincerely request any experts to share with me any such game.  Moreover, in order to let them realize things could be viewed from different angles, I need a picture that shows different things if seen from different angle; something like the picture that made up with a young and old lady's faces.

Thanks very much


8 Responses

  1. simple is best

    Your boss is right simple is best. There is a clever and funny tree swing design cartoon on that gets this message across well also consider:

    Chinese whispers – give a group member a message to pass it on to the person next to them and if you have a large enough group the answer when it gets back to you can be beyond belief.

    Another take on this is to get the goup members sitting back to back in rows, one side has to instruct the person behind them to draw a picture that they have been given, but they are banned from saying certain words that make the task easy. noisy but fun session. 

    Good luck.




    Chris .  

  2. Tree Swing Exercise – how to illustrate the spirit of “Simple is

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your suggestion and games provided.  However, please help me understand how the Tree Swing Exercise could illustrate the spirit of "Simple is Magic"?   The objective of the exercise is to alert our managers to do things in a simple way as possible, and understand that getting very busy doesn’t necessarily mean they are efficient … well, something in that line.  Or could you help me figure out how to debrief them about the lesson(s) learnt?



  3. Simplicity


    Hello Alice
    I do not exactly have, the picture or the thing that you are looking for to portray simplicity but one of my friend emailed me following stories that show how simplicity works, hope you can use these, in some way.
     Case 1
    When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that
    the pens wouldn’t work at zero gravity (ink won’t flow down to the writing

    surface). To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million.
    They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.
    And what did the Russians do…??They used a pencil.  
    Case 2
    One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan ‘s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem tothe assembly! line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap tothe delivery department. For some reason, one soapbox went through theassembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.
    Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with
    high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes

    that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt,
    they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a whoopee amount to doso.

    But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the
    same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but
    instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial
    electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on,
    and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of
    the line.       

    Moral: Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible
    solution that solves the problems. Always focus on solutions & not on
    problems. So the end of the day the thing that really matters is HOW ONE
    LOOK INTO THE PROBLEM and Resolve early.

  4. perspective pictures

    Hi Alice

    I have quite a few pictures you could use including the old lady/young lady one you mention. If you can let me have an email addres I can email you then now/today.



  5. Astronaut Story ??

     Hi Alice,

    I would use the astronaut story with caution because it’s an ‘urban myth’. A colleague – Tim Hurson – used this story in his book ‘Think Better’ which he had read about on the Internet. A reviewer of the book who happened to know the story was a myth, gave it a very poor review because she happened to open it at the page where that story was being used to illustrate simplicity !

    Here’s a link (see section titled:’Uses in the Us & Russian….’)  that de-bunks the story:

    Best Wishes,






  6. Great sharing

    Hi there,

    I heard about the soapbox one but the pen story is really good.  I’d use it in my activity debriefing as reinforcement.  Just my current headache is to find an activity to illustrate the idea.

    Thanks a lot.



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Alice Ma

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

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