Recipes for Teamwork

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Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
To allow a diverse group to combine their ideas and by doing so to get better acquainted with the way one another think and work
Used as component of: 
Opening exercise
Types of Participants: 
About half of the participants need to have some idea of or interest in how to cook
Recommended size of group: 
Optimal amount of time needed: 
1 hour
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
Participants comfortable with one another and prepared to do more difficult tasks
Level of participation: 
Medium to sterong
Ideal Conditions: 
Beginning of a group event
How is success evaluated: 
Credible recipes and lots of humor
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
Nothing special
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Setting and Materials: 
Flipcharts and markers, pre-prepared ingredient cards
Pre-Work Required: 
Prepare the ingredient cards

Create cards on which are printed common ingredients for main dishes; for instance: rice, tomatoes, ground meat, onions, carrots, noodles, etc. Ensure that there is one ingredient for each member of the group and that at least i/3 of the ingredients are a little unusual for main dish ingredients, such as potato chips, fresh peaches, beer, etc. (Do not make cards for ingredients that would be highly unlikely to show up in a main dish, such as marshmallows or ice cream.)

Divide the group into teams of 5 - 7, shuffle the cards and distribute the same number of cards to each team.
Tell the participants: “ Take 20 minutes to create a recipe for a main dish using all of the ingredients on your cards and any two ingredients you as a team wish to add. Write out the recipe on a flip chart, including quantities of the ingredients and the cooking process. Don’t forget to give your dish a title.”

Have each team report their recipe to the rest of the group, and then ask what they have learned about one another during the recipe creation. You may have the group vote on the recipe they would most like to eat.

How flexible is the process?: 
Very: You can focus this exercise on sweets, salads, cocktails, whatever the group is most likely to know something about cooking.
Follow-Up Required: 
Maureen Jenkins, from work done at the SPIJS network of the Dutch Ministry of Public Works