November 22, 2016

Integris® did something very unusual on the evening of Thursday, November 19th. First, the entire company consumed enough pepperoni pizza, bacon and hamburger to feed a large infantry unit. Okay, that’s not very unusual for us. But it was dinner time. And lording over IT systems and supporting thousands of users can really gin up an engineer’s appetite. After that, the team headed over to Mastermind Escape Games for what we were told was going to be a “team building exercise.” I wasn’t sure what we were in for. In the past we’ve gone bowling. We’ve done some river rafting. Another time we tried to play street hockey in bumper cars and only to suspect our ridiculously competitive controller may have been Attila the Hun in another lifetime. Don’t worry, it only took 3 weeks for my black eye to heal.
This event was totally different. And surprising. Especially the venue – an unassuming office park in Sandy Springs that I’m sure was state of the art in the fall of 1983. So much for outward appearances; this was simply the best time we have had as a group in ages. The games take place in various “escape rooms” – a new form of reality gaming where players are locked in a room, provided a mission, and given 60 minutes to discover the way out. The entrepreneurs who launched this concept spared no creativity or ingenuity in designing authentic rooms, décor and props that transport you to another place. As soon as we began, I thought I was in some parlor from that 60’s TV series The Wild, Wild West.
Each game has a different theme and backstory; and the players uncover these details as they advance. Games include a bank heist, a deadly viral outbreak, a group of superheroes trying to save a city as well as our chosen endeavor – solving the mysterious kidnapping of your uncle by breaking the Sorcerer’s spell.
Now for the surprising part. It was 8pm. We were all pretty tired as well as weighted down by our dinner indulgences. We were also a little freaked out about the prospect of being locked in a bunch of rooms. Then like clockwork we came together as a team and methodically figured it out from some of the most obscure clues you can imagine – candle sticks, magnets, riddles, plush rats. Even better, it set the stage for anyone with initiative to make a contribution without any top down guidance from management. Our journey spanned 3 different rooms and we made it out with 5 minutes to spare. Best of all, the game provided a platform for two newer employees to make a big splash with coworkers by demonstrating superior collaboration, leadership and problem solving skills. Skills that don’t always have a chance to shine in a more conventional office setting. We were in awe. What a great way to audition for career advancement. Especially when you don’t even know you’re auditioning. For more details, please visit:

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