Rainforest Game - 2nd Edition
An Exploration into Virtual Leadership and Collaboration
by Amy Judith Tananbaum
Today's worker can be situated almost anywhere -- in a satellite office, at home, or on-site in a client environment. In fact, the number of U.S. employees who claim to work remotely is four times greater today than in 1995 (Jones 2015). However, as the popularity of a dispersed workforce increases, so does the need to acquire and develop the skills necessary to navigate its unique challenges. Companies need to be equipped to cross geographical boundaries in order to share resources and ideas, to achieve success in today's global economy.
The Rainforest Game is designed to close that knowledge gap by giving individuals an opportunity to experience virtual leadership and collaboration across boundaries in an insightful, realistic hands-on simulation.
- Work more effectively across functions, geography, and distance
- Work through communication barriers
- Creatively solve complex problems
- Examine assumptions about how people and functions work together
- Apply skills for working across boundaries (Reaching Out, Sharing Information, Exploring Alternatives, and Making It Happen) all while Building Relationships and Achieving Common Goals
How it Works:
During game play, participants assume the role of artists -- brought together from all over the globe by The Rainforest Collective (an organization promoting endangered rainforest awareness). Their mission is to assemble a mosaic, made of pieces that they and other design studios have created, which is to be displayed at a celebratory art installation for The Rainforest Collective's annual conference. Participants are organized into subgroups, but since no group has all of the required pieces, they must venture across boundaries and work collaboratively to achieve success.
As participants work both within and outside of their assigned group to complete the activity, they face personal assumptions about intra- and inter-team dynamics. In doing so, they build awareness of the challenges inherent in a virtual environment and how to overcome them.
During the debrief discussion, participants are introduced to the four core skills for working effectively across boundaries: Reaching Out, Sharing Information, Exploring Alternatives, and Making It Happen. Together these skills build lasting and powerful relationships that enable individuals and groups to achieve common goals. An action plan at the close of the workshop allows participants to identify what they will do differently in the future to build partnerships, enhance inter-team communication, and enable greater collaboration across boundaries.
Uses & Applications
Perfect as a stand-alone module or in conjunction with a larger organizational learning process, The Rainforest Game (Second Edition) is highly adaptable and flexible. The facilitator can focus discussion on several additional areas that may be relevant for the organization, including:
- Problem Solving
Target Audience: Individuals who, are either currently or planning to, work virtually
Anyone who works with others across both internal and external boundaries
Product Type: Simulation/Game
Time Required: Approximately 3 hours
What To Order
The Complete Kit contains sufficient materials to play the game with up to 25 participants (or 5 teams of 2–5 people). All materials are reusable except for the Participant Workbooks and sticker sheets.
- To repeat-play the game, simply order additional Participant Workbooks and sticker sheets.
- To run multiple rounds of the game simultaneously, order an Extra Game Pack for each additional group of up to 25 participants.
The Extra Game Pack includes 25 Participant Workbooks, 48 puzzle pieces (separated into 5 drawstring bags), 5 sticker sheets (8 stickers per sheet), and 5 laminated instruction cards.