Through teamwork and creativity, Orlando-based teambuilding company Wildly Different found success in the midst of the global COVID crisis. Accustomed to doing business with theme parks, hotels and resorts, cruise lines, and real estate companies, last year they knew they needed to evolve to keep their business moving. The result? A new portfolio of virtual teambuilding events.
“At first, virtual games were slow to take off and we were worried,” said Lisa Jennings, chief experience officer of Wildly Different. “I think everyone thought the pandemic would pass and it would be ‘business as usual’ soon. When it became apparent that the pandemic was not going to be over quickly, we finally started getting requests hot and heavy for virtual games.”
Founded in 2003, the female-owned custom event and teambuilding business has achieved national and international reach. They specialize in custom-branded virtual games and virtual teambuilding, in-person games, treasure hunts, escape rooms, charitable games, and networking and company events. Since the pandemic started, Wildly Different has conducted virtual business with dozens of Fortune 1000 companies, associations, and universities.
Apple was one of the first clients to sign on to do a virtual event pre-pandemic. Jennings said the Wildly Different team was thrilled when one of the regional leads at Apple reached out and asked if they could host a remote game for their team. As a part of Apple’s recognition program, 230 people took part in a virtual escape room. Since then, Wildly Different has hosted three other virtual games for Apple, each with 150 players making up different internal teams.
“It’s like it all came full circle. The first time we worked with Apple, it was a bit intimidating hosting an app-based game for a client that is such a big name in the tech industry. But the game went off beautifully and everyone had a wonderful time,” said Jennings.
The future of virtual events
After they debuted their new virtual lineup, the biggest challenge Wildly Different faced was helping people to understand how remote games worked. So, they started conducting demos and spent time explaining how to use video platforms such as Zoom.
Fast-forward to today, and operating virtually has become much more commonplace, making virtual events much easier to facilitate.
“So many people felt disconnected during the pandemic, and hearing the positive comments at the end of the games about how much fun they had, made it all worthwhile,” said Jennings.
Jennings is betting virtual games are here to stay, even as face-to-face events continue to make their return. Since many companies have made the decision to allow their teams to work remotely, she believes there will continue to be a need for virtual teambuilding to stay connected. However, she does anticipate that in-person events will make a strong comeback in 2022, as the company has already booked several for this year.
“It’s an interesting new world. I wish I had a crystal ball to see what this will mean for our business moving forward. But if last year you had told me that we’d be all virtual for most of 2020 and 2021, I would have said you were crazy. One never knows. All you have to do is watch the tide and use your skills to ride it as best you can,” she said.
Get your creative gears turning with ideas from the Wildly Different lineup. These offerings are designed for remote teams of all sizes.
The Great Race
Inspired by television’s The Amazing Race, this scavenger hunt celebrates travel. The challenges include ‘routes’ with travel-related trivia and photo task ‘detours.’ The goal is to score more points than any other team before crossing the finish line. Team communication is key, and the experience is facilitated through a video chat platform.
Around the World
Teams virtually visit 22 countries while putting teamwork, collaboration skills, and creativity to the test. Players unlock tasks using image recognition technology upon arrival in each country. Challenges include performing a Bollywood dance in India and demonstrating kung fu skills in China.
Games and teambuilders
Not Bored Game
Teams must answer questions around pop culture and score points as quickly as possible before time runs out. In this high-tech game, all players view the game board on their own devices.
Inspired by television’s Shark Tank, teams must come up with a pitch for a fictional new product or service in their industry. Tasks include filming an ad campaign, creating a logo, and recording a breaking news story. Participants vote for their favorite pitch.
Connections Team Challenge
Challenges include photo and video tasks, trivia, and feedback that encourages discussion. A live scoreboard shows the teams how they are faring in real time.
This nonprofit-themed game involves answering trivia questions, solving clues, taking photos, and making videos. Participants play on their own mobile devices and work with their team to earn points. They collect “gems” to release a real monetary donation for a chosen charity.
Make an Impact
This global “give-back” activity provides participants with a say in how their organization’s donation will be used in the real world. Tasks are focused on health, education, food, and the environment, and teams select which project they would like to fund.
Kim Wacker is a seasoned communications professional with more than twelve years of experience. Her sweet spot is creative writing, both short and long-form. Kim is also a singer and actress with a passion for TV and film production; she has been performing on stage and screen for most of her life.