The more people who cocreate the future, the more people whose concerns will be addressed from the foundational level in this world. Meaningful collaboration both relies on and deepens relationships—the stronger the bond between the people or groups in collaboration, the more possibility you can hold.
— Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy (Shaping Change, Changing Worlds)
This quote reminds me of the convergence pyramid. The further up the pyramid researchers and practitioners go, the greater the possibility of making change, and the stronger their relationships become. Climbing the convergence pyramid requires building these strong relationships, one step at a time, until you reach the top.
One of the tools that we’ve found that helps build strong relationships are energizers. These are short activities that lift energy, generate laughter, and engage participants in fun, creative ways. Often, energizers allow participants to reveal something new and or interesting about themselves that otherwise wouldn’t have come up. Energizers work for a close team of co-workers, at the beginning of regular meetings of professional colleagues, or with complete strangers together for the first time at a workshop. In our recent training with Team Rubicon, we used a bunch of our favorite energizers including a Scavenger Hunt and Shape Up game,. Afterward, we heard that these felt like great team-building exercises.
Internally at Impact360, we also do many energizers because we also feel like they help us come together as a team and learn more about each other. We do an energizer every Friday before we check out for the week. Since Impact360 is fully remote we do our energizers over Zoom, some times using other software like Miro or pen and paper or whatever we can find.
Recently, I asked Scott and Zane to participate in a Craft Challenge. In a Craft Challenge, everyone on the team has 15 minutes to build something from materials available at home. I learned about Craft Challenges from Museum Hack. I had us doing a Craft Challenge together because it sparks appreciation for each other’s creativity and ability to adapt to constraints
Zane made “Can Man.”
Scott made “Bat Mobile” featuring special guest sidekick, Kea.
And I made a “toiletry holder” using my COVID-19 best friends–masks.
Next week it will be Scott or Zane leading the energizer. I don’t know what it will entail, but as always, I am excited to have another chance to spend time with my teammates if for no other reason than to connect and be together.
I encourage you to try some energizers with the groups that you work with regularly. You don’t need to be an expert facilitator to run an energizer, but you should think about how to facilitate one. You can find lots of energizers online, so you don’t have to worry about creating them yourself (although you can, that super fun!). Here are some energizing resources to get you started:
If you want formal training to improve your energizer facilitation skills or if you want someone to do the facilitation, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to support you however we can.