team

Dinner Challenge

This is a group activity that explores group dynamics, team-building and creative problem solving. It is also a lot of fun. A team of any size has the challenge to prepare a dinner for themselves and their peers, with limited resources and limited time. It works well with new teams as an exercise to help them bond, but it can also be effective for the development of experienced teams.

  1. Step 1:

    This works well with a relatively new group, but could be used with nearly any group.

    In the mid-afternoon of the chosen day, explain to the group that you are giving them a team challenge. They will have to throw themselves a dinner party that same evening, with the following criteria:

    • Dinner must feed everyone adequately
    • It must cater to the dietary requirements of all participants
    • The space must be decorated
    • There must be music and some type of entertainment
    • They must incorporate all the random items (if you have included any)
    • The whole process must be documented in some way

    They will have 2-4 hours. As facilitators you should decide what is appropriate.

    There may also be a theme for the dinner, either set by the facilitators or the group.

    Give the participants the picnic basket, that includes:

    • Their budget in cash
    • The random objects or food items they must use (optional)
    • A printed copy of their brief

    Facilitator notes

    The above is only a guideline for the brief. Adapt it based on the context, group, facilities, etc. Note that it is not necessary that the group have access to a kitchen. If one is available, that will be helpful, otherwise, the group will simply improvise.

  2. Step 2:

    Remind the participants of the time when dinner must start (2-4 hours from now) and then let them go.

    Remain in the space for the first 30 mins to answer any specific questions that they might have about what they can and can’t do.

    In the time you have before dinner you and any other facilitator/leaders should buy flowers or a bottle of wine to bring to the dinner.

  3. Step 3:

    Allow the participants to run the dinner and celebration as its own event. You and the other facilitator/leaders should be dinner guests. During the event, give a short toast, congratulating the group on the event.

    Leave the reflection and processing of the task to the following day.

  4. Step 4:

    First thing the following day, debrief the activity by reflecting on how the group worked together. Ask them to reflect first as individuals, then as a whole group on some of the following questions:

    • What happened during the task?
    • How did we work as a group?
    • How did the experience make me feel?
    • How did I behave / respond / react?
    • What did I learn about myself?
    • What did I learn about groups?
    • How can I apply insights from this activity?