Dragon's Den

Enjoyment Factor: 7/10

Teamwork Rating: 7/10

Leadership Opportunity: 6/10

Age Range: 14+

Activity Time: 2 Hours (Variable)

Set Up Time: 10 Minutes

Equipment Requirements: Low

Indoor/Outdoor

 

This nice simple activity, which requires little to no set up, is a spin off from the classic TV show - named Dragon's Den in the UK but I believe it is 'Shark Tank' in the rest of the world. It is the first of the games taken from the Leadership Development Program and the objective is to demonstrate the benefit of solid planning and preparation but also to give an opportunity for the teams to show off initiative and quick thinking under pressure. Time-wise it can last for as long or for as little an amount of time as you like. I operated with between 60 and 90 minutes preparation time and then set aside 30 minutes for presentations. Depending on the scale you are operating with this could be significantly extended on the preparation side.

what you need to know

The idea behind this game is for the teams to create a pitch to try and gain the backing of investors for a product they have invented. 

  1. First of all the teams must create some kind of product. Often these products would be totally fanciful and even question the practicalities of physical law but thats ok! If you are working towards specific goals then you regulate for a more specific product, for example I would sometimes use 'create a product that would benefit camp'.
  2. Once teams have come up with a product the next step is to work out how they would turn it into a business.The areas that I would ask them to think about included:
    1. What role will each of you fill within the business i.e. who is the CEO, who is in charge of design, finances, marketing etc. 
      1. Within that role why are you the suitable person and what do you bring to the project.
    2. What is the name of your company.
    3. Why is their a need for your product.
    4. What level of investment do you need and how will you use it and how much of the business are you willing to give up for that investment.
    5. How will you market the product.
    6. A demonstration of an advert always went down well!
  3. During the one hour of preparation the teams must create as much backstory for their business as possible and then create a 2-5 minute pitch to the dragons, hoping to garner investment.
  4. The teams then take it in turns to pitch their idea to the dragons. I liked to have two teams of dragons so that if a pitch goes badly with the first set they have the opportunity to work on any flaws so that they are more prepared for the next set. Each dragon has $100,000 to invest and once it is used up it is gone and they cannot invest anymore.

what you need

Like I said before this activity is great for a lot of reasons but one of them is that it requires very little set up and materials. I liked to have the following:

  • Paper and pens for the planning stage for the teams to brainstorm with.
  • A whiteboard and marker is a good aid for brainstorming but it is unlikely that you will have enough whiteboards for each team to have one!
  • Chairs set up for the dragons.
  • Props for the dragons to look intimidating - sunglasses, hats ties!
  • If you are considering asking the teams to make a model or a prototype then general arts and crafts supplies would be ideal.

General Tips

This is most of all a really fun activity. The dragons get to try and poke holes in the products of the teams which are usually pretty fanciful (I've had from teleporting watches to magic body healing machines). It is not important how nonsense the idea is as long as the team is able to stand up to questioning on it!

  • Let the dragons take on a persona and really act out their role. 
  • If a product is good and a bidding war breaks out between the dragons then this is only a good thing.
  • The value from this activity comes from letting the teams react to the pressure of being questioned and react to a changing situation. As well as working on intuition and initiative this game will go best for the teams that make a really comprehensive plan.
 
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