People Watching, Thinking Differently, And Climbing Ladders

I love to people watch. Do you? I am talking about a Saturday afternoon at the mall where you can sit in the food court with terrible Chinese food, and you watch people go by. Observe them, their habits, their mannerisms, their behaviors. You may notice the incredibly patient mom who is taking their kids shopping. The couple debating what they should eat for lunch. A husband and wife planning out their shopping route. Working in an escape room almost requires that you enjoy this simple pleasure. After all, we watch people every day. We watch them engage, communicate, problem solve, and think critically. We have cameras and microphones in every room, which means we see and hear everything a team does when playing one of our escape rooms. We are not experts in psychology by any means, but watching people play escape rooms certainly makes us feel like we know what we are talking about. The most successful groups that we see play our rooms often bring multiple different skill sets to the table. They think differently, and all approach problems differently.

Take a minute and imagine that you need to reach the door on the second floor of this building.

old brick wall with doors with a lot of character

There are at least three possible solutions. You could climb the brick and go over the banister. You could grab a ladder and climb up and over, or you could walk through the front two doors on the first floor. The first solution is direct but slow and dangerous. The second solution is safer and more direct but does require a tool. The last solution could work if the doors are unlocked, but even then, there may not be an actual way to get to the doors on the second floor by going inside.

Whenever we see a group problem solving, we see all of the processes through many possible solutions to the problem they are provided. Each person provides a valid perspective, even if their solution doesn’t work, and eventually a team figures it out. Here’s the thing, most people would probably walk through the front doors. It is direct and easy. But often times, the people that beat escape rooms, and even set records, are the people who are willing to find the ladder and think unconventionally. This is why it is great to work with teams in escape rooms. Everyone is going to approach problem-solving differently which makes your team more diverse and able to solve the multitude of puzzles that can be seen in an escape room. It is ok to find the ladder (we have provided) and climb over the banister. In fact, we encourage it.