The Colourblind® activity is a communication exercise which develops team building skills and helps teams recognise problems caused with imprecise communication and language. It is a verbal problem solving experiential learning activity that is used to improve team problem solving and listening skills, and is played in a small group.
Communication skills, especially listening skills are some of the most often-quoted soft skills demanded by employers, and notes as being required to be further developed in its leaders. This communications exercise provides a challenging activity to all levels of leaders, and typically becomes more challenging as the seniority of the group increases, where the ability to really listen and not just 'wait to speak' is often demonstrated.
Wearing blindfolds to ensure total dependence upon the quality of their verbal communication, a group works together to gather information that will allow them to solve a puzzle. The size of the group (ideally between 6 and 14) demands different types of skills: information and group management, active listening and questioning, strong chairing skills, the ability to clarify and summarise, and the need for feedback to ensure understanding.
Colourblind® is also now available as a fully online activity, providing a significant experiential challenge for remote groups. For further information on Colourblind® (online version) CLICK HERE.
Click on the right to view a Webinar comparing the Colourblind and Colourblind Plus games.
The materials supplied will enable you to work with the recommended group of up to 14 people. (If your group is larger then consider providing roles as observers rather than participants, or set-up another concurrent session).
You will need enough working space to ensure that the large team can work together and hear each other – the ideal arrangement is probably a ‘horseshoe’ shape of chairs, so that seated and blindfolded participants can receive the plastic pieces in their hands/laps.
Each participant is blindfolded and issued with a number of small plastic pieces. The team has to identify the colour and shape of two pieces that were removed from the complete set of plastic pieces.
A period of between 20 - 30 minutes intense verbal information exchange and problem-solving approaches will typically be required depending on the abilities within the group.
The design of the Colourblind® activity and the complexity of the pieces can lead to confusion, ambiguity and uncertainty. To avoid this, precise descriptive language and careful feedback and checking skills must be applied. The use of only verbal communication mimics the amount of time we typically spend on email, telephone or other communications media when we don’t share the same visual frame of reference, and the resulting misunderstanding and even conflict that can develop when a truly shared meaning is not developed.
The activity itself is simple:
Teams of 6 - 14 gather knowledge to identify 2 coloured abstract shapes that are missing from a complete set of up to 30. The communication processes involved are much more complex and take participants through increasingly sophisticated patterns of communication until the task is achieved.
Individuals draw on their experience and descriptive skills to explain to each other abstract shapes that they can hold in their hands, whilst blindfolded. They use feedback and clarification skills to ensure that their understanding is accurate.
Colourblind® was developed in 1991 when our colleague, Dr. Geoff Cox, designed and delivered the first week of an induction training programme for Air Traffic Control cadets. Each cadet facing an intensive, demanding training programme in which teamwork and communication skills would be fundamental to success. Each, ultimately, would accept professional responsibilities which allow absolutely no margin for communication error, misunderstanding or ambiguity.
Colourblind® enabled participants to rehearse every communication skill which Air Traffic Controllers need and to highlight the problems and pitfalls which communication breakdown inevitably brings when there is no visual common ground
Since 1991 Colourblind® has been used worldwide across languages, cultures and business backgrounds, to focus on the fundamental skills of great communication.
Colourblind is also part of our Education Sector Package for those who wish to use it with students or young people in an educational setting.
20 x blindfolds (re-useable, washable)
30 (foam PVS-based) plastic pieces (6x shapes in each of five colours)
Package Weight: 0.75kg
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Typically we will ship within one working day of receiving your order (if received by 14.00 local time), and your goods should be with you wherever you are in the world within one week!
We provide a 12 month unconditional guarantee.
If you have any problems with our materials, we will replace any defective parts, or you can return the product for a refund.