What’s the real point of team building? A case history

heineken team building

When planning a team building event, a clear and well-crafted briefing is essential. Our case history today explores an instance in which an outstandingly effective briefing from our client resulted in a tailor-made team building experience, that effectively met the team’s specific needs. A good team building event should always engender something deeper than a generic feeling of “getting along well with one’s colleagues”: it is a versatile tool that should be used creatively, in order to reach precise goals. We were contracted by the HR department at Heineken to create a carefully targeted team building experience. We had the opportunity of employing adequate resources, together with our own creativity and detailed local expertise, and in particular our in-depth knowledge of the city of Milan. Many still find it hard to believe that team building can be an extraordinary creative exercise for those who plan it and a fulfilling experience for those who benefit from it. On this occasion, once again, we had conclusive proof of the fact that striving for quality and having a keen eye for details will result in an engaging and satisfactory experience, both on a personal and a professional level


Heineken required a team building event that put the new company values into action, so that employees could experience them directly. This project was part of a comprehensive rebranding effort, based upon ten principles around which all of the company’s departments and activities should revolve. The ten concept we were given to work with were support, simplicity, perseverance, teamwork, surprise, safety, enterprising, collaboration, learning and greatness. Such an ample and diverse set of values with which to frame our event allowed us to build a complex and yet harmonic project with a clear focus.

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Treasure hunt

If you have been following our blog for a while, you might have noticed that we love treasure hunts. Planning a treasure hunt gives us a very real feeling of how our inner child can contribute to our professional life. There is a simple excitement in this kind of activity, the thrill of adventure and discovery that this timeless pastime can elicit in the most self-possessed, grown-up professionals. The basic structure of the game is simple, but it can be adapted to fit a complex design, which made it ideal for this particular project. We equipped our attendees with ipads and sent them on a high-tech treasure hunt consisting of ten tasks, one for each of the principles contained in the original briefing. Each task was designed to require the practical application of one theoretical principle, so that participants could establish its relevance in real life. Among the assignments we set, one resulted in a particularly memorable experience: the one connected to the concept of Learning. We visited the Milan branch of the Italian Union of Blind and Partially Sighted People, where our contestants were admitted to a dark room, in which they had to perform a task, with the assistance of two visually impaired people. The exercise was meant to stress the importance of not taking acquired knowledge for granted, of questioning it and of valuing alternative paths to knowledge, constantly valuing each individual’s unique skills

Location scouting on a grand scale

A major perk of treasure hunts is that they allow the participants to explore their surroundings (which often means the place they live in) with increased attention. Our selected location, for this particular treasure hunt, was the entire city of Milan. The event quickly turned into an exciting city tour, with a special focus on the areas of Porta Venezia and Turati.

Sharing is caring – team building core values

Sharing is the whole point of team building. Even the most exciting and engaging of tasks will be of little value if it does not result in a shared experience, allowing team members to work together towards a common goal. In order to give our attendees a more real sense of the importance of sharing, we encourage them to record video footage of the whole experience on their ipads and, at the end of the day, we edited a long-form video from said footage. This turned a fulfilling collective experience into an almost involuntary exercise of creativity

Planning a team-building activity for your team? We can help you!

contatta-smart-eventi-1 Are you thinking of organising your event in Italy? Talk to us! Call us at +39 02/97381544 or email at info@italianbusinesstips.com
referenze-smart-eventi-1 Check out our portfolio HERE.

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She is a part-time digital nomad. She would go full-time, if only she could stay away from Berlin for long enough without pining for a Pretzel. She was born in Italy and she enjoys life as an expat, but visits home often enough and can still remember how to bake a perfect lasagna. She is passionate about writing, marketing, languages and the systematic demolition of cultural stereotypes.

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