Applied Problem Solving

Blog Post created by katharine.unsworth on Oct 10, 2016

It’s a rare pleasure when you can work together as a team to solve a problem. It takes more than understanding the problem, it takes the ability to recognize the strengths of others, create measurable milestones, and the ability to work together. Collaboration is a word we hear often. The challenge of working with people and their expansive diversity is one that we overcome daily, which emphasizes the importance of team buildings. It’s not always easy deciding or being creative in how a team can bond outside of our daily roles. The escape room experience was by far the best teambuilding experience I have been able to participate in. Escape rooms were created 10 years ago and have grown incredibly in their popularity over the years and in their use for team building exercises. Their purpose, simple, put together the clues and puzzles of a problem to escape a room within the allocated time. It puts people in intense, problem solving situations that brings out a different side. We all react differently and process differently. Ultimately the goal of any team is to recognize those skills and strengths and use them together. An escape rooms does this very thing with a bonding and incredible sense of accomplishment once you escape. Even if you don’t escape it’s a fun learning opportunity that compares to nothing else I’ve experienced before.




In my recent team building experience I was able to see first-hand how my team worked together, the quirks and limitations we overcame, and how we bonded after we solved the puzzle. Every mind tackles a problem differently.
When we first entered the room and were told “go” (cuffed with a partner I might add) we all went in different directions. Looking under items, scouring the walls, and brainstorming what our next steps should be. The first 30 minutes we quickly uncovered the little clues and tried to make sense of our predicament. We listened to various ideas. Patiently worked with our cuffed partner as we decided where we should look next. In some instances we got to experience fluid thoughts as two people anticipated the move of their cuffed partner and others who struggled with the jerking awkwardness of being cuffed to another person. Once we figured out how to move forward in the puzzle things really picked up. We un-cuffed and dispersed like worker bees. Scattering and then focusing our attention to the goal. We tore through belongings and turned over every item we could find, we were practically yelling in excitement whenever we found something. We began putting together different pieces and clues that would lead us to another puzzle. It didn’t take long for everyone to work together and focus our attention on the different puzzles. We naturally organized ourselves into varying small group, which emphasized our individual strengths. Some members of our team would focus on organizing our various clues and attempting to relate what we found to the end goal. While the rest of us put our heads together to find the remaining clues to solve the puzzles and riddles. We bounced ideas back and forth until the light would click. We had to be patient with each other and thoroughly listen to ideas. We found clues as a team and when we would discover an answer it was an exhilarating accomplishment.


It’s easy to come to a quick conclusion and set our minds on how something should be done. It’s very difficult to admit one is wrong, which is such an incredible strength. We learn from our mistakes and grow from how we can improve and overcome the situation. In the escape room we were able to recognize everyone’s strengths and learn from their mistakes. I’m fortunate to work in a team where everyone was able to be open to new ideas, try different techniques, objectively improve our focus, multi-task, and put our brains together in order to solve a problem. I was able to witness the diverse smart minds of my team and how we have learned to put those thoughts together. The escape room allowed me to witness this but more importantly offers a unique learning opportunity. Seeing how one reacts in these situations brings serious emphasis on our everyday characters. In an hour people get to learn so much about another person, how their mind handles intense problems, and how they react to pressure/stress. It is insightful and a thrill I can’t describe when you complete the task. I’ll definitely be back to another escape room soon!


-Thank you Conundrum Escape Rooms (Durango, Co)