A/Maze: Montreal escape game

How escape games can help shape a company from the inside

Team-building activities are the way to transform a group of people into a well-oiled machine. The key to this is quite simple. You need to place the people into a new context, somewhere where all rules of hierarchy are null and where they need to reinvent how they work together. By doing so, the people figure out new ways to communicate, new ways to delegate and, most importantly, new facets of the individuals they work with. Giving a sense of urgency to their tasks forces them to remove the useless and go straight to the necessary, a skill that can then be applied to the workplace.

Escape games focus on

Creative thinking
Getting new ideas, thinking outside the box, trying to solve a problem in an efficient manner
Use of logic
Figuring out how to get out of a situation and finding a way to simplify the overly complicated
Observation skills
Paying attention to details, never leaving anything behind. Knowing what everything is for.
Speaking up, sharing the information and collaborating to succeed. You can't do it all alone.
In January 2017, we welcomed at A/Maze Montreal a team of players from the airline company Air Transat. The team had decided it was time to review how they worked together.

The event was quite different than what we usually do. To start it off, it lasted a full 6 weeks. Every Wednesday a new group of 20 players would come in and play one of our escape games. For 45 minutes, they reimagined themselves and reinvented their work strategy. They saved the world from a Mad Scientist, escaped the Prison, discovered a Lost Temple and produced the antidote in the Military Facility. And while they worked at the new task they were given, they were observed and noted on their performance.

After the game was done, the teams were gathered in our lounge area, filled a questionnaire and discussed the way they worked inside and how what they learned that they can use while at work.
The team had a chance to improve...
Their Work Dynamic
By finding new ways to deal with problems as they arrive
Their Leadership
By showing the team how to act and getting the flow going at a steady pace
Their Teamwork
By assigning tasks, communicating and always being ready to help
During the games, psychologist Stéphanie Guérin observed the players through our camera system and occasionally walked in the room to see from up close. She then lead the after-game discussion, encouraging players to figure out how they can use their strategies in the workplace. She kept the conversation away from what others did wrong, and mostly on how we can fix problems together, as a team.
The whole point of a team-building activity is to change, but the activity itself cannot do that on its own. The newfound tools need to then be applied in the workplace through discussions that encourage similarities between the escape game and the everyday tasks at work. The first step in changing, is being open to it, being ready for things not to be the same. Once your mind is open, you need to put yourself in a new context, see things from a different point of view, do something you would never do in real life. And that's what escape games are for.
Coming together is a beginning
Keeping together is a progress
Staying together is a success
-Henry Ford