An asynchronous ice breaker is an activity that enables similar engagement of an ice breaker with the flexibility required for today’s global workforce. We all have the challenges of timezones and busy schedules that make it difficult to have a an extended concurrent activity.busy By executing an ice breaker non-concurrently, the complexity and scale of the activity is more flexible. Concurrent activities at Virtual Ice Breakers online activities that are limited to 10 participants and the interaction cannot be too intensive otherwise there may be periods of silent time on the conference call.  As an alternative, a virtual asynchronous ice breaker can be distributed to 5 to hundreds of participants. Each participant contributes at their leisure.  Then at a later date, the results can be discussed and analyzed as a group or groups.

Another environment where this method can be utilized is e-learning/e-training.  The nature of e-learning is flexible and the opportunity to interact with fellow classmates is limited.  Learning about each other in an out-of-context environment further develops the human connection.  It allows personal characteristics to be expressed.  It is one thing to understand an arbitrary subject together but what about learning about each others greatest accomplishment.

We converted Moving Motivators into an asynchronous ice breaker.  Moving Motivators is a co-located activity developed by Management guru Jurgen Appelo.  He invented this exercise to reflect on motivation and how it is affected by organizational change. The Moving Motivators exercise is based on the ten intrinsic desires which Jurgen derived from the works of Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss, and Edward Deci.  The co-located activity can be found at  The activity we created is called Our Motivators.  The name was modified because we were no longer “moving” the motivator playing cards on a table but rather manipulating on a screen.

Our Motivators MarketingTo setup asynchronous ice breakers are simple.  A free game can be created on the following page  You then email up to 5 participants a link to start the process.  Our Motivators has 3 basic steps for each individual.

  1. Each person orders the 10 motivators from top to bottom based on their preferences
    • Acceptance Curiosity Freedom Goal Honor Mastery Order Power Relatedness Status
  2. Each participant that indicates the impact a change may have on motivator.
    • Positive change, no change, negative change
  3. The results are analyzed as a team/sub-team
    • A summary report is sent out 24 hours after the activity is created or when all participants have completed submissions

The advantage of collecting this information electronically is the simplified collection and analysis.  Periodic checks can be done to see if the collective motivators have changed over time.  Various factors influence our motivators and they may change depending on these influences.  motivatorgraph
A project that is routine may benefit from introducing some curiosity if the team members are so inclined.  Collecting this information for an entire organization is greatly simplified with an online tool.

Try Our Motivators today!  We are developing concurrent and asynchronous ice breakers all the time.  We want all games to be offered on both platforms.  If you have a specific request, send us a note.

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This article was written by Gerard Beaulieu on October 7, 2015

You can contact Gerard at Twitter and Linkedin

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