KS&R Blogs


One of the cornerstones of success in qualitative research is to create an accepting environment in which respondents feel comfortable enough to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. This can be particularly challenging with B2B respondents, who often find it difficult to go beyond their professional boundaries. Team building activities can go a long way in creating that environment. Unexpected, offbeat, and playful exercises help respondents to get acquainted and relax, and create an atmosphere of shared interests and values.

Additionally, team building activities can shake up respondents' perceptions and beliefs; energize low energy groups; and help uncover breakthrough ideas and opportunities.

There are generally four types of team building activities: communication; problem solving / decision making; planning / adaptability; and building trust. With literally thousands of these activities out there, online and in print, it is important that you choose the right one for your session:

  • Make certain that activity can be conducted in the time and space available.
  • Analyze the activity for potential trouble spots – respondent misunderstanding, complaints, showing off – and decide ahead of time how you will deal with each issue.
  • Build flexibility into the process. Respondents learn at different rates and play differently; emotional needs and willingness to take risks can vary dramatically.

One of my "go to" problem-solving team building activities for B2B respondents is based off the wordless picture book Zoom, by Istvan Banyai. Zoom features 30 sequential "pictures within pictures". Its narrative moves from a rooster to ship to a city street to a desert island and finally, outer space. Because Zoom has been published in 18 countries, this activity is especially well suited to global qualitative research studies. It is also very effective in illustrating to businesspersons how their perspectives can impact and change realities.

Here are the directions:

  • Separate the pages of the book into one page sheets. Laminate each page, or place it in a clear plastic sleeve.
  • Hand out one picture to each respondent (be sure to use a contiguous sequence).
  • Allow respondents a few minutes to study their pictures; make sure that they keep their pictures hidden from others.
  • The goal is for the group to sequence the pictures in the correct order through discussion (usually 5-7 minutes).
  • When the group believes they have all the pictures in the correct order, the pictures are turned around for everyone to see.

And, a final note on team building: Several members of KS&R's Qualitative Center of Excellence recently engaged in a team building activity by creating "Focus Peeps", our entry into an Easter "Peep Art" contest (see below).

Now that’s an engaging focus group!