A team building classic – Jungle Escape
Team building games are an excellent way to engage participants, make learning active, bring real group dynamics to the surface, and drive home key points. Learning sticks because individuals are immersed in the activity. Whether you choose to use them as a stand-alone learning tools, or as a part of a larger training initiative, team building games can generate quality results.
Jungle Escape has been used to train thousands around the globe, and continues to remain a trainer favorite. Participants are transported deep in the jungle during this high-energy team building game. All players participate, develop common strategies and face consequences while discovering and practicing critical group-processing skills.
Take a look at this Q & A from Jungle Escape co-author, Dr. Rollin Glaser about why this game is considered a classic in the industry.
Q: Where did the idea for Jungle Escape originate?
A: The concept for Jungle Escape all started with a client in the retail industry, believe it or not. I was training middle managers at the time – and boy, they were a very active bunch. They always hated lectures, but loved doing competitive things in class. One day, a client who had heard me talk repeatedly about teamwork said, “If you’re so convinced that we need teamwork, why don’t you create a team-building experience?” Remember, this was 30 years ago, when teams were a new concept for organizations. After giving it some thought, I landed (no pun intended) on a hands-on activity that would illustrate the purpose of teamwork: when people function together as an effective team, they produce better results most of the time. Jungle Escape was the end result of my endeavors, and it’s been a favorite among trainers for 30 years.
Q: Has Jungle Escape changed much since it was first released in 1980?
A: Yes and no. Over the years, we’ve used different toy pieces for the simulation and we’ve made regular enhancements to the game. But Jungle Escape’s core activity remains the same. That’s because the principles of effective teamwork have not shifted, despite the many changes in organizations trainers have witnessed over the last 30 years.
The first edition helicopters were constructed of Lego pieces. We continued with them until the LEGO® company stopped supplying parts to commercial businesses like HRDQ. We knew at the time that it was a hurdle for us to overcome, but we also knew that the power behind the Jungle Escape experience wasn’t the toys themselves—rather, the true learning that occurs when a team of people attempt to construct something together. Fortunately for us, we found a new supplier and we continue to use those parts today.
Q: Why does Jungle Escape work?
A: The activity is specifically designed so that group planning is needed before construction of the helicopter can begin. This means teams are required to communicate with one another about strategy, roles, and how to go about execution without touching the parts. Not every team realizes this important step, though. It always fascinates me to watch some tables skip the planning and jump right into the building phase. And the outcome is the same every time: the teams who take the time to talk through the project and practice healthy group process skills outperform those who do not. I must say, it’s fun as a facilitator to watch the “a-ha!” moments as participants realize what makes the difference between success and failure as a team.
HRDQ clients have used Jungle Escape in many creative ways. From decorating the training room to look like a jungle to making the helicopter construction difficult by withholding parts, our clients have embellished the basic activity to further the excitement.
Have you used Jungle Escape or another team building training game? Tell us how you have made team building training more interesting and engaging for participants in the comment section.