Why would ten people allow themselves to be locked in a room together for one hour? Of course there's the fun, excitement and bonding in a shared challenge. What's behind that and why would we lock them in there? By way of explanation, here's a very old story.
The Blind Men and the Elephant
Once three blind men walking along a trail came upon a mahout leading his elephant. Since they'd never met an elephant before, the mahout invited them to get to know it.
"Oh, an elephant is like a tree trunk." said the first blind man, feeling the elephant's leg.
"No, the elephant is like a paint brush," said the second blind man, feeling the tail of the elephant.
"No, the elephant is like a great snake," said the third blind man, feeling the trunk.
The three blind men began to argue, each sure of what he knew and each totally blind to what he didn't know. Finally the mahout stopped them, raising his voice.
"Each of you is partly right and all of you are wrong. The elephant is like all of those things, so don't let the things you know keep you from learning from one another."
Wicked Elephants and Optimism
While it may be easy to laugh at the foolishness of the three blind men, we are all limited in our perceptions. We are blind to things across the globe, across the city, or even inside of a book that we've never read. Today we work on problems so great in scale that no one person can even understand them alone. We need to communicate and collaborate if we want to know these elephants.
Working together on big, nebulous problems is a learned skill and one you can practice. Since our work and social interactions are increasingly solitary or mediated by technology, we are losing these skills to work together and see things from other points of view. The timed, set-apart challenges we design remove groups from their established routines and focus their attention on working together.
That's Puzzlephant's mission: to create experiences where exploring and working together can solve daunting challenges of perception and understanding.
Underneath any human endeavor there's some outlook on humankind's quest for meaning. At the core to the idea of puzzles I see an optimism that if you work hard enough then you can find meaning and understanding of even the most difficult problems. Puzzle rooms take this a step further, showing that by working together we can solve problems too big for us to understand alone.