3 Minute Right-Brain Team-Building Exercise

Wassily Kandinsky. Sketch I for Painting with White Border (Moscow), 1913. Oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 30 7/8 in. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

This riff on the exquisite corpse was designed for any skill level. We recently did this exercise at a staff meeting and found it easy and creative.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A piece of paper for each participant

2. A reproduction of the same work of art for each participant. I’d recommend selecting an abstract work like this Kandinsky painting. Everyone can draw lines and shapes!

3. Pen or pencil for each participant

Here’s how to do it:

1. Form groups of 4, 5, or 6.

2. Distribute paper, pens, and reproductions to each participant.

3. Ask participants to find a small portion of the reproduction that seems appealing. After they’ve selected, give 30 seconds to draw that portion of the artwork.

4. After the 30 seconds is up, instruct participants to pass their drawing to the person sitting next to them.

5. Once participants have someone else’s work, ask them to draw again for 30 seconds. Tell them that their new drawing must have a line that touches the drawing made by their colleague.

6. Repeat and pass again until participants have been returned their original drawing.  Each person should end up with one piece of paper that is a collage of all of their colleagues’ work.

7. Once complete, talk about the process. What did everyone experience? How did they feel completing it?

Here’s what we learned: the exercise fostered teamwork, encouraged observation, and pushed us to take risks. We also thought this helped us shift from left-brained thinking to right–all in the space of 3 minutes! What do you think of our collective work?

Collaborative artwork by Education Department inspired by Kandinsky