Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Paper Boats

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Making “paper boats” is wholesome management game or management exercise. You as a management faculty or seminar leader or workshop coordinator can use it in sessions on many topics like strategy management, quality management, leadership, communication, motivation, team building, team work and time management etc. The game simulates an organizational environment where ultimately you have to provide better value to the customer and earn more profits.

“Paper Boats” can also work as a motivator and energizer for your seminar.

Divide the participants of your workshop into groups or teams of 4 to 5 members each. The members in each team should be chosen randomly. Method of how to randomly choose the members in a team is given in the management exercise titled “Pass the Message” (URL: Ask each group or team to select its group leader or team leader.

Then take all the team leaders out of the seminar hall and explain them the activity they are supposed to get done in their groups. The activity will be one of making the paper boats. Demonstrate the method of making the paper boat out of a paper of specified dimensions. Make one sample boat for them.

Having demonstrated it, ask them if they have understood the same. Give them each one paper of the same dimensions that you had used and ask them to make the boat so that you are assured that they have understood how to make paper boats.

Instruct them that they will be given next 10 minutes to discuss with their group members. They can discuss anything they want e.g. method of making the paper boats, how many boats they will make, how many papers they will need and what kind of profits they plan to make etc. Also instruct them that once they have finished their discussions within 10 minutes, they will be given 20 minutes within which each group will have to make (manufacture) the paper boats. Tell them that after 20 minutes they will stop manufacturing and start selling the boats.

You will take the role of the seller of the papers of specified dimensions for the purpose of making the paper boats. You will sell papers @ $1 per paper. Once the paper is sold, it cannot be returned.

The groups will be able to sell their boats @ $3 per boat.

Let the group leaders now meet their respective groups. Give them 10 minutes to discuss things within their groups. After 10 minutes each group will start manufacturing the boats for next 20 minutes.

After this the groups will calculate the price of each boat they produced. It will be calculated by dividing the total price of the paper each group bought by the number of boats made by each group.

You will now act as the customer. You will go to each group, inspect each boat thoroughly and decide to buy only the real good quality boats and reject the bad quality boats. The number of paper boats sold thus by each group to you (i.e. to the customer) will be noted down for each group.

Thus earnings (revenue) of each group will be known. Each group will subtract the total money they had spent on buying the paper. The difference of the two will be the profit of a group. Each group will also calculate the paper wasted by them (number of papers bought more than their requirements plus the papers which went as waste because while using them to make boats they got spoiled, torn etc). Each group will also calculate the rejection percentage of the boats produced. All these figures will be displayed on a flip chart for all to see.

You will now start a discussion among the participants in your role of the faculty of the program. Let them discuss about strategy, planning, leadership, communication, motivation, quality emphasis, inventory management, production efficiency, time management, sales planning, profit planning and anything else they want to discuss.

Let them share with you as to they could have improved their performances.

Wrap up the session with your own inputs to the participants.

Get Hold of the Related Books

You can order the following books on “management games and icebreakers” as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:

  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers

(If you are interested in management case studies, management anecdotes or funny little stories of the corporate world, you may like to refer them at: or or

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Contact Prodcons Group at:

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And don’t miss to read his “Do This Today”

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About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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