The Riddle of the Man in the Diving Suit
The Man in the Diving Suit is an exercise in lateral thinking to stimulate creativity and imagination in the team.
Challenge your group to solve a mystery with limited facts. To help them find a solution, your group can only ask you questions that can be answered with “YES” or “NO.”
You may respond with “IRRELEVANT” if your answer to a question does not bring the group closer to a solution.
When you are ready, tell the group the facts of this fabulous mystery: “A man wearing a scuba suit is found dead in the middle of a forest. What happened?“
If, after ten or more minutes, your group has not solved the mystery, you may guide your group to ask questions about a certain topic to draw them closer to a solution.
As the minutes tick by, your group will narrow their focus and finally arrive at the solution. It’s frustrating, it’s exciting and, most of all, fun.
On occasions, you may need to guide your group to ask questions about a certain topic to draw them closer to a solution.
As with all lateral-thinking exercises, it is critical that you do not let these mysteries linger for too long, lest people quickly disengage and will likely refuse to play them again.
Moment of Reflection
- What reactions did you observe from the group when the mystery was first announced?
- What feelings did you or the group experience during the activity? Why?
- Did you or the group make any assumptions? Provide an example.
- How easy was it to identify and/or dismantle these assumptions?
- Where else in our lives do we make assumptions that cause us to make poor decisions?
And the solution to the riddle is that the man was diving in a nearby lake when he was accidentally scooped up by a water bomber to dump a load of water on a bush fire.