Chainlink Materials Zoom

Chainlink Experiential Learning Activity


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Chainlink is an experiential learning activity that explores the demands of managing in an internal supply chain, and how to cope with meeting customer needs at the same time as managing suppliers to fulfill your demands. 

Participants play the role of both customer and supplier by managing information, prioritising demands, using effective communication, as well as improving the customer supplier relationship, in order to complete the task.
The use of the observer role provides an excellent opportunity to rehearse providing feedback based on observed behaviour.

Recognising individual differences and needs makes this an ideal task to link to personal style profiles such as MBTI as participants choose remote or face-to-face communication.

View a short video by clicking the thumbnail to the left. 

Availability: In stock


Key Features

    Learning Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Customer/Supplier Relations
  • Decision Making
  • Effective Communication
  • Instruction & Delegation
  • Resource Management
  • Group Size
  • Ideal: 8
  • Possible: 6 - 16
  • Duration
  • 30-90 Minutes plus review

Activity Overview

As an activity participant you are one of up to 8 participants in this activity in which you find yourself in the position of being both customer and supplier.

As a customer, you have a requisition that you need to be delivered to you by the end of the exercise.

As a supplier, you have an order which must be in the hands of your customer by the end of the exercise.

Each participant has a requirement to build something for their customer whilst at the same time managing their suppliers to ensure that they deliver on time to the correct quality.

An alternative activity version is supplied for groups of more than 8, or where the opportunity to provide some rehearsal on providing feedback based on behavioural observation is useful.
The observer version pairs an observer and participant together, swapping roles as they progress through the 60 minute activity.

Learning Objectives

  • • Explore different personal learning styles
  • • Linking the activity to individual profiles
  • • Improve instructional skills
  • • Improve accuracy of communication skills
  • • Teamwork and Group Management
  • • Information Management
  • • Individual effectiveness
  • • Observation & Feedback Skills

Activity Description

Activity Contents: 

Facilitator Manual, 8x Customer order sheets & Participant Briefs, 8x Magnetic boards, Magnetic components, 8x Observer Briefs

Package weight: 4.75kg

Chainlink replicates some of the pressures of being ‘a link’ in an internal supply chain. Few people working in organisations do not find themselves, at times, both customer (or user) and supplier. You may be waiting for the IT team to fix your computer so that you can supply management accounts to your Board in advance of a meeting – you are a link in a chain.

This exercise puts every participant into the role of both user and provider of information. It asks them to focus on more than one task at once: the construction and supply of a product to a ‘customer’ and the liaison with a ‘supplier' who is fulfilling a previously placed order.

The relationships are limited by restricted communication: face-to-face meetings are rare and therefore valuable. The communication generally occurs in writing, representing the ‘remote’ communication (usually electronic; text / email / phone calls) now relied upon in the majority of global organisations.

The exercise raises some important issues of task and resource management, prioritisation and resource allocation. 

  • • How does an individual make informed decisions about where and when to apply effort? 
  • • How do pressurised individuals in internal service departments know which demand is genuinely urgent and therefore which to respond to? 
  • • How are people encouraged to move from thinking about their own needs to those of others? 
  • • How do we get things ‘right first time’ to avoid the need for re-work or correction? 

Chainlink also demonstrates very clear differences in individual working style. How do teams respond to differences in the amount of contact, interaction, preparation time, detail and feedback which individuals need? In this way, it is an ideal exercise to use with teams who have completed personal style profiles (e.g. MBTI) and will be able to see the different preferences in action.


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