Andy Pearson

The Desert Island

by .  
15 - 20 Low

Many of us have played a game similar to this before - if you were stranded on a desert island, what essential items would you choose to survive?

Participants are given a list of items to choose from and must work together to decide which items will help them stay alive.

A great, remote-friendly exercise for a team to work together and share opinions.



Encourage creative thinking and decision making when faced with tough choices.



The participants are given the following scenario:

You are all stranded on a desert island, and may choose only three of the following objects to survive. 

The list of objects may include items such as: 

  • a bag of fruit and vegetable seeds
  • a Swiss army knife
  • a fishing net
  • sunblock
  • a 100 ft rope
  • a waterproof bed sheet, 
  • a large, strong bucket 
  • 2 litres of kerosene, 
  • A lighter, and so on.

You can make these objects as obscure and strategic as possible so that members are challenged to really think and plan for their survival.

For smaller teams, you can ask each person to individually choose their three items and explain why.

For larger teams, you can split the team into groups and allow them to collaborate on which items they want to choose (using multi-room video conference options). Once all the smaller groups have decided on their items, continue the virtual meeting and ask each team in turn to explain their choices.

Activities like this naturally make team members see each other as teammates. It can also create pride, healthy competition, and excitement within the team, plus it can help virtual workers learn how to collaborate in a virtual setting.


The goal of this activity is to encourage creative thinking and decision making.

As a facilitator, you might ask people to explain why they chose the items they picked, and how it plays to their strengths. The rest of the team will now have some new information and a fresh perspective about their fellow team members. 

Comments (3) (4.0 avg / 1 ratings)

Please Log in or Sign up for a FREE SessionLab account to continue.
  • Thanks for the activity Andy. I shall be using it in my upcoming facilitation session. I was just wondering what should we do next after the participants share their respective reasons for making their choices. What should be our next move as a facilitator? How can we close the loop?

    almost 3 years ago
  • Hi Sergio, glad you like the activity! I imagined a 'smaller team' being up to about 10 people - any more than that and I think it would take quite a while for everyone in the group to explain their three choices. For teams larger than 10, I think it'll be more time effective if the audience splits into smaller teams - where they'll need to use some teamwork skills to agree on their items for survival!

    almost 4 years ago
  • Hi Andy, thanks for sharing. When you speak about "smaller teams" and "larger teams", which numbers are on your mind? Thanks.

    almost 4 years ago