Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

4 - 20 participants

Popular and free challenging online team problem solving activity with powerful messages about managing team communication.

Celtic Cross is a popular and challenging team problem solving activity with powerful messages about managing team communication - teams need to create a process to manage and categorise individual contributions and shared understanding. 

All communication is verbal; strategic thinking skills are essential. Each participant is provided with a link to view their individual task information contained on images of playing cards.

This exercise demands both task and group leadership. It also requires critical thinking - simply sharing the information will not uncover the answers, rather the information contained on each information card must be combined, and then used to deduce the answer to the question posed in the activity brief. This allows the group to be involved in a significant virtual team-problem solving activity, and quickly mirror problems that real-life teams face in the workplace.

This is a perfect early team exercise or ice-breaker to establish how a team works together and is ideal for groups not previously experienced in working as a virtual group or team. 

This activity was developed by Derek Fox and this online version is provided to Experiential Learning Tools customers thanks to Derek's generosity!

  • Virtual Team Icebreaker Activity
  • Improve Virtual Teamworking Skills
  • Practice Managing Information & Communication in a Virtual Environment
  • Provide Opportunities to Use Distributed Information to Solve Problems 
  • Build Strategic Thinking Skills
  • Improve Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Skills
  • Build Online Team Communication Skills

Celtic Cross is closely related to our Workstations activity.
Celtic Cross is an immersive virtual team challenge designed to hone team communication and problem-solving skills. Participants, armed only with verbal communication and unique task details presented on images of playing cards, must collaboratively interpret and strategize to deduce answers to posed questions. Beyond mere problem-solving, this game delves deep into the intricacies of team dynamics, making it an invaluable tool for groups aiming to enhance their collaborative efforts.

  1. Team Building: Workstations serves as an excellent platform for teams to understand each other's working styles, especially for groups that haven't previously collaborated. It fosters trust, mutual understanding, and camaraderie.
  2. Communication Training: The game pinpoints common communication pitfalls and challenges teams to overcome them. It emphasizes the importance of clear, concise verbal communication and the need to manage and categorize individual inputs effectively.
  3. Leadership Development: Workstations can be used to identify emerging leaders within a group. Those who exhibit strong group leadership skills, effective task management, and the ability to guide discussions will stand out, providing valuable insights for future team configurations.
  4. Critical Thinking Enhancement: The game pushes participants to think beyond the obvious. Simply sharing card details isn't enough; teams must engage in deep analytical thinking to deduce the correct answers.
  5. Ice-Breaker for New Teams: For teams that are just forming or integrating new members, Celtic Cross provides a fun, engaging way to break the ice, helping members get to know each other's strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles.

  1. Enhanced Team Dynamics: Teams emerge from the game with a clearer understanding of each member's strengths and areas for improvement. The experience fosters a deeper appreciation for collaborative efforts and highlights the importance of every member's contribution.
  2. Improved Communication: Participants gain insights into the value of clear verbal communication. They learn the pitfalls of ambiguity and the importance of ensuring that every team member is on the same page.
  3. Identification of Leaders: The game naturally allows leaders to emerge, providing teams and organizations with insights into potential candidates for leadership roles or further development.
  4. Sharpened Critical Thinking: Teams learn the value of looking beyond the obvious, understanding that sometimes the answers lie not in what is directly presented but in how different pieces of information intersect and relate.
  5. Real-world Problem-Solving Insights: The challenges faced in Celtic Cross mirror many real-world problems, teaching teams that sometimes the path to a solution requires a blend of individual contributions, collaborative efforts, and out-of-the-box thinking.
Celtic Cross is a dynamic virtual team communication and information-sharing exercise, tailor-made for groups venturing into the realm of remote collaboration. Compatible with user-friendly video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, it offers a seamless experience for participants.

Drawing inspiration from our "Workstations" activity, Celtic Cross employs 30 distinct playing cards, designed for co-located groups with minimal setup. This digital adaptation retains the simplicity of its predecessor, demanding little in terms of advance planning, yet remains unwavering in its commitment to the core learning objectives.

Participants are tasked with verbally sharing card details. Through a combination of elimination techniques, logical reasoning, and critical thinking, they must decipher answers to two central tasks. The puzzle's solution hinges on three pivotal cards that elucidate the task objectives. The onus is on the cardholder to share this crucial information with the team.

To up the ante, facilitators can introduce a rule prohibiting note-taking. This pushes teams to innovate, finding alternative methods to recall and organize pivotal details. The exercise underscores the importance of collective contribution; every participant possesses a piece of the puzzle, making their input indispensable for the group's success.

As the activity unfolds, it becomes evident that team members operate at varied speeds and employ diverse memory strategies. The challenge? Crafting a unified approach that caters to these individual nuances. By the activity's conclusion, teams must ensure a holistic understanding, enabling each member to play their part in the implementation process seamlessly.

Designed for engagement, the Celtic Cross spans approximately 35 minutes, culminating in a 25-minute review session to distill key learnings.


Fully remote/virtual activity
To all subscribers
Activity created
Average duration
60 mins
4 - 20

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