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Rob Sheffield

Bluegreen Learning


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Large group collaboration


Hello all,

I'm wondering if you have suggestions for the following. I'm likely to do some work with a large group of 100 - 120 people. The time available is one hour, and we want some learning to emerge around the benefits of collaboration.

Does anyone have any suggestions for exercises that fit the bill?

Many thanks, Rob

5 Responses

  1. Try team scrabble

    This is an interesting challenge.

    I have worked with groups this large many times, and developed an exercise called team scrabble.

    The last time I used this with 8 groups of 10.

    It needs a thorough understanding before use and it helps to have a couple exta bodies to help you out as there is a lot going on at a time.

    It also requires the right number of scrabble boards and tiles, monopoly money, copies of the same newspaper and so on – sounds complex, but it isnt really, it does mean though that this must be held in advance so nothing is left to chance on the day.

    Download team scabble from the team page of my free resources at

    If it helps contact me offline.

    Good luck



  2. an option requiring no equipment whatsover


    Have you ever done "The Chain Gang"?

    This works for groups up to 20 so you could have it as a little light competition between 5 groups.

    Anyone with damaged wrists, fingers or arms, anyone who cannot stand on one leg for up to a minute, anyone wearing a skirt or dress will have to drop out. (once you have read the rest of this you can also assess whether in the group you have anyone who might want to back out for cultural/religious reasons)

    get 20 people and get them to stand in a circle

    tell them to hold hands

    tell them to note carefully whose hand (and which hand) they are holding in each of their hands

    tell them to let go

    now get them to rearrange themselves in a different order circle; I usually do it by birthday~start with anyone on Jan 1st here, round through Feb, March etc to anyone on new years eve here (the year is not relevant) make sure they are shuffled as close to each other as possible


    Safety brief….tell them "you can let go IF you think you are going to damage your own or your colleague’s hand/wrist/arm. You can let go if you think you are going to fall over.  Be careful not to kick or tread on your colleagues."

    Their task is to get themselves back into the original circle without letting go of hands (they can now move their feet!)

    They should end up either all facing inwards or all facing outwards. If anoy one person is facing the wrong way then three people got it wrong; the one facing the wrong way and their two flankers

    With a group this size it will prov=bably take about 15 minutes to set up, and it usually takes groups between 3 and 15 minutes to achieve a successful outcome.

    they often think it is impossible but have to persevere

    After they have achieved have a little debrief for 5-10 minutes, (you can get them to do this in their groups and then share); why were you successful?

    they succeed through working together, having a common goal, understanding the "rules", communicating clearly, being considerate, listening, everyone pulling their weight/participating, persisting and enjoying it; ie collaboration

    It would help if you had an observer/dangerwatcher for each group but you can usually draw these from the "drop outs" listed in the third paragraph.

    It really sticks in the mind!

    Good luck


    Rus Slater


  3. Needs and Offers Market

    A process I have run (and also been a participant in) is running a needs and offers ‘market’.  As everyone enters the event, they write on post-its (big shapes like those offered by Pinpoint Facilitation are great for this):-

    1.  Anything they particularly want to get some help with.

    2.  Any particular area of knowledge/skill or resources they have to offer.

    They also put their name on the post-its.  These are then stuck on 2 separate walls.  With such a large number, it is good to have someone on clustering duty – putting similar topics together.

    Everyone reads what has been put up and at this point, they can add ‘me too’ if there is a need or offer shared.  The individuals then find the people who have offers that are of interest to them, or find needs that they think they can help with. 

    If there are common themes, you as the facilitator can set up discussion groups around this topic and leave them to work together to come up with ideas/solutions.

    You can use the last 10 minutes reviewing the successes and the learning from the process.

    This lively marketplace should definitely show the benefits of collaboration.

    If this sounds like it might do the job, just let me know if you want any more info.




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Rob Sheffield


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