Molten Metal and Fire Replace Trust Falls in Today’s Team Building Workshops.

If you’ve ever found yourself in even a semi-corporate environment, chances are you’ve done a few team building excercises. Ropes courses, bowling nights, company outings… Building a cohesive team is important to any manager, and innovative San Francisco Bay Area businesses are increasingly turning to the Industrial Arts for team building activities. Instead of the standard positive games and happy hours, participants in team building programs at The Crucible complete tangible projects using molten metal, open flame and orange-hot glass.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, bringing diverse teams together in ways that build trust while stimulating creativity and problem solving can be a challenge. The Crucible, a cornerstone in the West Oakland Industrial Arts Corridor, offers corporate team building experiences that defy standard practices. By providing workshops in the Industrial Arts, participants are exposed to welding, foundry, blacksmithing, glassblowing, fire eating, glass fusing, jewelry and neon, many of which are techniques typically reserved for industrial projects.

“Our team wanted a hands-on learning experience as a part of our 3 days leadership retreat to facilitate our development.” Said Brianna Larkin of the Oakland School for the Arts. “Because we are an arts school, we thought The Crucible would be a great opportunity to learn through doing art, and would give us more of a connection to our school’s mission. It was also an affordable option and the location across from BART and within a couple miles of our school worked well.”

The list of progressive companies engaging their teams using the Industrial Arts is impressive, including the likes of Salesforce, Ubisoft, Square, Jamba Juice, Kaggle, Kaiser Permanente and Cliff Bar. In most cases teams have elected to create an installation piece that they’ve taken back to their offices: the Salesforce team built a fused glass sectional table featuring their signature “no software” logo; the Ubisoft team fabricated a wrought-iron throne. Each workshop is tailored to match the interests of the team members with the goal of inspiring, encouraging teamwork, and adding a fresh approach to problem solving through creativity and design.

“We love the fact that we’re working with dangerous materials, and everyone is starting from ground zero as far as experience.” Said Kaggle’s Ramzi Ramey. “Regardless of management structure, we’re all starting from scratch. That opens the door to a kind of problem solving that you don’t get when everyone is sitting around a table.”

Corporate team building workshops are typically booked for celebrations, launch parties, product development, holiday and end of year events. The Crucible offers flexible event planning options and can fit most group sizes and budgets, with 2-hour mini workshops starting at $800. Design & Build packages, including lunch and a wine-and-cheese art reception, start at $3,500.

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