Narrow Margins Experiential Activity Materials Zoom

Narrow Margins an Experiential Learning Activity from RSVP Design

Narrow Margins

Narrow Margins is a competitive, business based, group activity where teams must be accurate in their attention to detail, as they process and manage a large volume of information, then use it to create and cost a workable strategy using effective collaboration and strategic decision making skills. A commercial proposal is then prepared to be presented to a prospective customer to win the tender.


Availability: In stock


Key Features

    Learning Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Decision Making
  • Instruction & Delegation
  • Resource Management
  • Risk Assessment
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Group Size
  • Ideal: 6 - 16
  • Possible: 6 - 16
  • Duration
  • 30-90 Minutes plus review

Activity Overview

Narrow Margins activity is a competitive, business based challenge that requires a small team to process and manage a large volume of information, process that information in order to be able to create a workable strategy and then develop a detailed business plan to ’win’ business in a competitive marketplace.

The exercise is set up for up to 4 small groups of 3-4 people (max 16) and lasts for 60 minutes: 45 minutes of planning and tender preparation and 15 minutes of presentations (max 4 x 3 minutes presentations and allowing ‘changeover’ time).

Narrow Margins is also part of our Education Sector Package for those wishing to use the activity with students or young people in an educational setting. 

Learning Objectives

  • • Teamworking: Ability to work in small teams, allocating roles as appropriate
  • • Data & Information Management: Assimilating and processing a large volume of data quickly and accurately
  • • Strategic Decision Making: Agree on appropriate & achievable team strategy to achieve a profit 
  • • Commercial Awareness: Preparing an accurately budgeted proposal, that allows for a reasonable rate of return
  • • Presentation, Influencing, and Sales Skills: Prepare & deliver a structured, convincing, & successful sales presentation 
  • Instruction and Delegation Skills: Effectively manage and delegate responsibilities and allocate team roles

Activity Description

Activity Contents:

4x Laminated OS Maps of an area within the UK, 4x Write on / Wipe off pens, 4x Map measurers, 4x Sets of team briefing documents, Facilitator observation sheet, Facilitator Guide. 

Package Weight: 2.15kg

The activity is about determining an appropriate transportation route to move a berthed canal boat by road to one of three alternate launch points, using data provided and an extract of an Ordnance Survey map. The group is separated into teams which have to compete against each other to win the available tender to transport the boat.

In stage 1: the activity the teams have to review a lot of detailed information, and quickly determine what appropriate route options exist.

Stage 2: They are then required to accurately cost the potential route options and then decide on their chosen route.

Stage 3: Finally they must prepare a presentation to the ‘customer’ (facilitator) which outlines why their team should be awarded the tender.



It went down a storm!Review by David Holmes
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Just wanted you to know that we used Narrow Margins on Wednesday with a team of 10 in two groups and two of them as observers and it went down a storm. Really successful and turned a light bulb on the CEO watching his team solve the problem and present a solutions.

david holmes
founder director
transformational leadership group
e: [email protected]
(Posted on 22/07/2016)
Strong exercise that reveals behaviours and tendencies of team membersReview by Rhoda Reid
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Narrow Margins certainly brings out any competitive streak in people! This is a fun and interesting exercise which we used for a Board and Staff day. Who would have known those who would have taken the lead, talked over others, been uncomfortable or been helpful and supportive? Narrow Margins give much scope for learning when facilitated out after the exercise is complete and we are still talking about some behaviours that emerged months after the event. (Posted on 13/07/2016)
Great Assessment Centre ActivityReview by Group Training and Development Manager
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Just to let you know that the Narrow Margins exercise worked well for us across three Assessment Centres. It tested the relevant behaviours and highlighted some interesting differences in the candidates and their approach.

Group Training and Development Manager
CALA Group (Posted on 09/06/2015)

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Product Downloads

Click below for more information about Narrow Margins. We also have NEW 'Education & Teacher Specific' facilitation notes for those who wish to use the activity with students or young people in an educational 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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