Arts Based Virtual Team Building Activities For An Innovative Remote Team

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Can you teach collaboration, empathy, creativity and transparency in the virtual world? Sure, you can teach it but it won’t change behavior. To change your behavior you and your team must immerse yourselves in creative experiences. On today’s podcast, Dr. Fred Mandell and Harvey Seifter, founders of Futures that Work, demonstrate how to build the competencies required to succeed in the two dimensional zoom world by engaging our team in the three dimensional worlds of art and science.

Many people were waiting to get to the other side of this pandemic, hoping the virtual world would become less relevant and that we would get back to “normal.” But the reality is, we’re not going to get back to that ever again. Because of that, there is a premium in developing the kinds of skills and communication to be effective in a virtual world. Because we’re moving toward a hybrid world, we don’t exactly know what the balance is going to be. And we have found that the arts continue to be a incredibly engaging, three dimensional experience in a two dimensional medium,

One downside to the virtual world is that it is 2-dimensional. The 3-dimensional world is where the art experience thrives. But is it possible to bring the richness of the 3D of the arts into virtual team building? Bringing the arts into virtual team building is very powerful, because it begins to help people appreciate that the world that we’re entering into, is going to be an interplay between three dimensions in two dimensions.

What is Art-Based Learning?

When teams engage in arts-based learning they begin to change the way they collaborate. The teams that spent a few hours of abl exhibited dramatically more emotionally intelligent behaviors like try mutual respect, transparency, openness to new ideas, all of these kind of key elements for collaboration. Results in innovation

Benefits of Arts-Based Learning. 

Through experimental research, Fredd & Harvey discovered that the Arts have a very powerful and unique impact on creativity, collaboration, emotionally intelligent behavior, innovation and resilience. Arts based learning taps into the creative expression and potential that every human has. When people experience art, it triggers the same neural circuitry that triggers empathy. Additionally, Arts based learning can change a culture, organization and language. 

6 Arts-Based Virtual Team Building Activities

  1. Suminagashi – The Japanese term refers to “floating ink.” Suminagashi is the process of marbling plain paper with water and ink to transform it into something vibrant and colorful.
  2. A Music Experience- Put your team inside the music, teach them to perform and have them perform a musical experience. Learn the connection between music performance and collaboration.
  3. Poetry – Have your team work together to write poems. Tap into their creative writing skills. 
  4. Drawing – Have your team members draw a picture together.
  5. Theatre – Have your team act out a scene in a play or perform improv. 
  6. Dance/ Movement – Have your team participate in a dance or other movement such as a Yoga or Tai Chi class. 

Tips for Leaders for 2021

  1. Visit a museum
  2. Compose a poem
  3. Draw a self-portrait 
  4. Walk in the woods without your cell phone and breathe deeply. 
  5. Ask yourself, What is different about today? And why does that matter? 
  6. Every morning ask yourself, What am I grateful for today?
  7. In the evening before going to bed, repeat and reflect. 
  8. Listen to a different kind of music. 
  9. Observe a child 18 months or younger playing 
  10. Eat a slice of pizza beginning with the crust and working toward the tip. 

About Harvey Seifter & Fredd Mandell

Harvey Seifter founded The Art of Science Learning, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative that uses the arts to spark innovation in science and technology. Since 2012, he’s taught collaboration and innovation to thousands of business leaders at GE’s Crotonville Global Leadership Development Center. He’s also a classically trained musician with 20 years at the helm of arts organizations that won 5 Grammys and the Kennedy Center Award. 

Fred Mandell, PhD is an award-winning senior executive turned business model innovator, visual artist, writer and social entrepreneur. He has developed emotionally resonant ways to teach individual and team skills, techniques and processes which accelerate innovation through arts-based learning. His series The Leader as Artist was the #1 rated course at MIT’s Sloan School Innovation Period Program. 

For more details on virtual team building activities, listen to the full episode.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability


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