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Which 21st Century Skills Get You Out Of An Escape Room?

Night operations at The Lab in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. Our mission: to see if the increasingly popular team building activity in major cities—a night at an escape room—really creates opportunities to ‘practice and reflect’ the 21st century skills that the Lab’s badges are intended to build. First, we should fess up to admit that we did not escape, but felt better when our in room wizard told us the Game Room in Dupont Circle has a 18% escape rate.

But what did we learn?

First, to “get on the balcony” analyze the group dynamics…with no designated norms or rules, it would have been useful for some to #LeadWithoutTitle (catalyst badge) to organize the kids rummaging madly through the candy store looking for puzzle pieces.

Next, #PatternFinding and #Solutions-Focused (creative problem solving and collaboration badges) turned out to be early competencies that would get us through the levels. We quickly learned to form ideation teams to work through the colored mazes.

But we did not #LearnFromFailure (catalyst badge). There were so many red herrings, after the first half dozen, you’d think we’d be more suspicious. And finally, throughout, were we really listening to each other #ActiveListening? (empathy, collaboration badges) Our little clusters of ideation didn’t try to harvest knowledge or combine learnings.

And we didn’t ask for help till the very end, despite having 3 life lines, perhaps we could’ve used a little #Confidence/Courage (oral communications badge).

Though we did fail our mission, at the end of the day we did #StrengthenRelationships (collaboration badge) and build community as a team.