Two fun methods to introduce teams to self-organization (what we call self-organization light) are ‘Where is my balloon?’ (original by Syrella Johan) and the Enemy-Defender game.
Where is my balloon?
“A teacher brought balloons to school and asked the children to blow them up and put their names on them. They threw the balloons into the hall while the teacher shuffled them. Then he gave the kids five minutes to find the balloon with their name on it. They ran around and searched frantically. But when the time ran out, no one had found their own balloon.
Then the teacher asked them to pick up the nearest balloon and give it to the person whose name was on it. In less than two minutes, everyone had their own balloon.
Finally, the teacher said, “Balloons are like happiness. Nobody will find it if they only look for it for themselves. But if everyone invests in each other’s happiness, they find their own happiness the fastest. ”
(You understand that you can do this with any object)
This exercise also works in (very) large groups. The idea is simple: everyone chooses for themselves (in his or her head) someone as enemy and someone as protector. The facilitator gives the go-ahead and the only task of the participants is to always stand between their enemy and their protector. You will see that the group moves violently at first, but that a status quo gradually develops. Discuss this with the group: what was this like? What happened? What does this say about self-organization in teams? And: Who thinks he knows whose enemy or protector he was?