How big brother can teach us how (not) to live together

If you’ve ever watched Big Brother, you’ll know how easy it is for people who don’t know each other in enclosed environments to wind each other up! Admittedly, this structured reality show is designed for this purpose and increasingly contestants play to this to get their 15 minutes of fame.

As part a programme I was involved in, we used immersion methods where people can observe their neighbourhoods. Imagine if you travelled across neighbourhoods with a group of people, like Millenial Trains and Startup Bus do.

You could have individual roles & responsibilities with associated skills — film makers, cartoonists, researchers, social reporters / communicators & field operations. But you’d be travelling in a much more enclosed…claustrophobic-friendly environment — whether that’s a caravan or a campervan, living quite literally on top of each other.

You could use the internationally-recognised Myers Briggs test to self-assess our individual personality traits and perhaps more importantly, to share these with your fellow travellers, so that they can get a better idea in advance of what makes each of them tick…and what winds them up!

Even if some personalities have a need for particular needs to met, its important that these could be met for everyone, including:

  • Celebrate people’s achievements on the caravan so that people feel their work is valued
  • Encourage people to review each other’s work, whether it’s a plan of what we’re going to do for the day or a blog post
  • Provide a space for people to voice their concerns to avoid being overloaded with work
  • Provide space for people to unwind and relax and have some “me time”
  • Encourage open and honest debate between people on the team, but be sensitive about how you criticise someone’s work
  • Encourage people to think creatively about how to approach a task
  • Provide a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of each person on the team as well as the collective responsibilities that we all have
  • Be aware of what motivates other people on the caravan, but also what frustrates and winds them up

Look at each others’ personality types and interaction styles and discuss what principles work with everyone’s personality types! It’s easier said than done…