Every new program, what we at ABC Accelerator really want to achieve, is deep connections and friendships among our startups. The tool to use here – is a weekend of various activities. A team-building. And not only for the whole generation, but also for the startup teams, themselves.
This year, we took all the startups to Bohinj and subjected them to a strenuous set of activities and tests, making sure that they got “tortured” just enough. The whole event strives to get everyone tired, but happy, building a strong foundation for the program in all fields – from leadership, personal growth, startup rules, team roles and teamwork, and trust.
The challenges were the following:
CHALLENGE No.1: The puzzle game.
We hid pieces of the puzzle in the woods, and gave different team members the directions to go and search for each of them.
SOLUTION: The goal of this challenge was to show the teams that each member matters, and that each member brings unique pieces to their startups’ story, building a bigger picture that is the company.
CHALLENGE No.2: Blind followers.
Members of each team were blindfolded and one of the team members led the team to the next stop – one out of five – where they were given a seemingly random array of objects: a meter of rope, a marshmallow, a meter of duct tape, and 20 spaghetti.
On each location, they also had to switch roles to give everyone the chance to lead their team, who blindly followed.
After coming to the finish, all teams had to construct the highest possible “spaghetti tower” out of the received materials – the winner constructed a tower over 79cm high!
SOLUTION: The goal of this game was to give everyone the opportunity to be a leader and to develop their own “leadership style!: they could give others directions, lead them by hand…
CHALLENGE NO.3: Desert aeroplane crash – on a lake in a canoe.
This game of desert survival tested the teams’ physical preparedness and decision speed. Rowing across the lake, they had to form survival strategies based on the new information about the crash they obtained every 300m.
On some of these checkpoints, they could topple the leader – the CEO, if their decision-making skills weren’t up to scratch, or they could leave people behind, and every decision gravely impacted their chances of survival.
This was all on the first day, and on the second, all teams along with ABC staff played the “Playing Lean” board game. The goal of it is to test how capable people are in the lean startup concept. Players conducted experiments, built and removed their features from their product, sold to customers, and built their company.
It was the condensed version of everything they are doing in the real world, taking a startup from an idea to a successful business. In the real world, the business that is selling to the right amount of the right customers is the business that wins, and it’s exactly the same in Playing Lean: the first team to take the Red Customer Tile – representing the global early majority – wins!
The point of the team building was to put everyone through unexpected situations, to see what skills they lack, and to find the ways to teach them those skills. If you want to be a leader, you have to lead the people even when they can’t see the path. Through the shared difficulties of physical and psychological stress, they became relaxed and only then were we able to make the leap towards intellectual and personal progress. And become friends!