Counter Intelligence Materials Zoom

Counter Intelligence Experiential Learning Activity

Counter Intelligence

Counter Intelligence is a challenging problem solving group activity that allows team members to use a range of communication and logic skills. Cards with information are dispersed between the team members, therefore each individual has information which contributes to solving the problem ensuring teamwork.

Counter Intelligence activity can easily extend into other training areas such as supervisory leadership skills and exploration of personal and team values.


Availability: In stock


Key Features

    Learning Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Effective Communication
  • Instruction & Delegation
  • Knowledge Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Group Size
  • Ideal: 6 - 16
  • Possible: 6 - 16
  • Duration
  • 10-20 Minutes plus review

Activity Overview

Counter Intelligence is a group problem solving activity designed originally by Steve Hutchinson and Helen Lawrence to be used with sub-groups of around 6 people. It focuses on task supervision: establishing and controlling a process, giving clear instructions, asking for and summarising inputs and setting out next steps.

This activity works well at first line supervisor level and allows group members to exercise a range of communication and strategic thinking skills. It involves active participation from all group members as each is required to contribute their information in order to complete the task, and a leadership role can be assigned (or left to emerge from within the group).

A range of information is provided to the participants: some relates to the task performance and others to the process and ways that the participants behave. 'Rules’ are provided and the review will typically include to what extent these ‘rules’ were observed, and whether or not the rules are 'important' or not in order to complete the task. The exercise can develop into an exploration of values - is the objective to obey the instructions or to complete the required shape?

Learning Objectives

  • • Exhibit strong task (and process) supervision skills
  • • Observe both process and task instructions to be considered ‘successful’
  • • Establish and control a problem solving process that incorporates all players
  • • Give clear instructions to all players based on information provided
  • • Manage each other’s inputs and progress according to the information they have
  • • Problem solving and strategic thinking skills
  • • Team communication skills

Activity Description

Activity Contents:

2x Sets of 32x Coloured counters, 32x Instruction / task cards, Facilitator manual

Package Weight: 0.8kg

Each participant (up to 6 per sub-team) has a number of information/task cards which are dealt to them face-down at random. There are a number of coloured counters provided which comprise the remainder of the exercise materials. The information / task cards are used to provide clues as to how the group should arrange the counters to form a specific shape and distribution of colours. Information printed on the information/task cards should not be exchanged or viewed by other players. The sub-team should provide their single, final answer within 15 minutes.


Great Icebreaker for Empowerment SessionReview by DM
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Counter Intelligence worked very well for us - a group of 50 people spent their first 20 minutes working in self-directed teams on a challenging but fun exercise - really set us up well for the rest of the Workshop.
David Mitchell, British Gas (Posted on 30/01/2017)
A relatively quick exercise that is rich in learningReview by Geraint
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
There were lots of important lessons for effective teams, and the most memorable though from a participant in the de-brief was that "everyone has something valuable to contribute". This was particularly poignant for the group in question, who are often dominated by a small number of people.
I was pleased that there were two sets of the activity in the kit.

Dr Geraint Wyn Story

Cambridge Training Associates
(Posted on 07/05/2015)

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Product Downloads

Click on the link below for more information about Counter Intelligence. We also have 'Teacher Specific' notes for those who plan to use this activity with students or young people in an education setting.


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We provide a 12 month unconditional guarantee. If you have any problems with our materials, we will replace any defective parts, or you can return the product for a refund.

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