Minefield Toolbox

Measure the value of collaboration versus competition

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What is the cost, in effort, money and time, of a failure to make best use of hard-won organizational knowledge?

Minefield offers a tangible, numerical measurement of the effectiveness of inter-team communication and co-operation. Teams applying the lessons from Minefield examine their own "silo" working and identify ways of maximizing the return on their expensively acquired business knowledge.

The activity is supplied with a lightweight magnetic board, a game sheet, a set of magnetic components, full participant briefing instructions, facilitator's manual and a suggested review process, based upon predicted learning outcomes. Working in 4 small teams, within the same organization, participants undertake an information-gathering and logic exercise. All the information they acquire has a cost attached. Teams work with a budget to gather the information they need to complete a task and earn a bonus. Can they optimize team and organizational profits?


Learning Objectives:

  • The commercial implications of acquiring Business Knowledge & poor Knowledge Management across organizations
  • The conditions under which information sharing might be routinely passed across internal organizational boundaries for the benefit of the organization
  • Issues around risk-management, where decisions have to be made that have significant budget implications
  • The criteria for successful collaboration and communication amongst different teams


A major UK bank used Minefield in a series of workshops for business managers. Recognizing the huge cost to the business of not accessing all the knowledge which exists in different parts of a complex, multidivisional organization, they wanted business managers to explore issues around effective Knowledge Management. Over a series of workshops, staff kept "league tables" of exercise results, demonstrating the bottom-line costs of poor cross-team working and knowledge sharing.


Team members from the United Nations World Food Programme were shocked to recognize that their failure to share information early enough in the exercise led to only 60% efficiency in the exercise. They described this as "donor money being poured down the drain" and went on to explore their own responsibilities in minimizing this type of waste and inefficiency.


Minefield is suitable for groups of up to 24 people, lasts approximately 45 minutes, requires no additional resources and can be easily managed by one facilitator. Multiple sets offer a superb conference activity, with the competitive element offering valuable additional learning.


Activity Contents:

  • Gameboard
  • 64 Magnetic pieces
  • Facilitator manual
  • Scoresheets
  • Carry case


Activity Description:

Four small teams are placed in corners of the working areas and identified as Teams A,B,C and D. Their individual objective is to maximize a given budget by spending as little as possible and gaining a large bonus for completing their task objective.

The required information is contained on a master game board, and by spending budget, each team can obtain information from the master game board. Each team is asked to maximize its score, but no specific mention is made of competition or collaboration.

If teams compete rather than collaborate, they cannot obtain a positive score -- the individual team scores will reflect the absolute degree of cooperation.

Minefield is a carefully researched and designed group learning activity from RSVP Design.

Minefield Toolbox

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