Now Available Digitally

Subarctic Survival Situation™

Research and development by J. Clayton Lafferty, Ph.D., in consultation with the Canadian Armed Forces

Take your teams further than they’ve ever gone before with one of our most popular team-building simulations.

The Subarctic Survival Situation  is now available in both paper and digital format and is great for building new teams, enhancing team development, and improving problem solving and decision-making skills. 

Do your teams have what it takes to survive?

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The new digital format can be used for virtual and in-person team-building sessions.

The Subarctic Situation

"It is approximately 2:30 p.m., October 5, and you have just crash-landed in a float plane on the east shore of Laura Lake in the subarctic region of the northern Quebec-Newfoundland border."

Your task is to rank 15 items salvaged from the plane in the order of their importance to your team's survival.

Set in an unfamiliar location, this simulation takes the participants outside of their organizational roles and areas of expertise to a situation where only their synergistic problem-solving skills will help them to survive.


“Why a simulation? Because wisdom cannot be told. Action/involvement is vital to how people learn. We learn by doing.”

Excerpt from: Subarctic Survival Simulation, Elaine Bernard, Ph.D. Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School


How it works

The Subarctic Survival Situation provides a unique opportunity to quickly and objectively measure whether your groups are achieving synergy—as well as demonstrate this otherwise elusive concept. Synergy occurs when the interactive efforts of two or more people produce a solution that is superior to their independent solutions. By measuring the quality of both individual and team performance on a single task, this simulation allows groups to quickly calculate the extent to which they are fully utilizing their resources—and doing so in a way that achieves synergy.


“I have found that the Subarctic survival simulation is fun and naturally encourages student participation. It is a good ‘icebreaker’ for a freshman orientation class, and since the simulation is interactive and team-oriented, students gain an understanding of what is involved in the group decision-making process (group dynamics). Students learn that in order to ‘survive,’ they must cooperate and support one another, that the collective is greater than the individual, and that teamwork is necessary for enhancing their success in their academic and professional careers.”

Excerpt from: Survival Simulations, Mark Tufenkjian, Success 101


The benefits for your organization

  • Demonstrates the need to improve the effectiveness of solutions and increases commitment to team building
  • Establishes a Constructive, team-oriented atmosphere in the workplace, at conferences or workshops, and in classrooms or training programs
  • Serves as a platform for team-building initiatives designed to strengthen members' rational and interpersonal problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrates and promotes synergy within groups
  • Make the Subarctic Survival Situation part of your team-building initiative

    We offer two options:

    • A trained and experienced Human Synergistics consultant can facilitate the Subarctic Survival Situation for you. Simply contact us to find a consultant who’s right for you.
    • You can ‘do it yourself’.

    The Subarctic Survival Situation is available in paper and online in our new digital format. The simulation takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

    To schedule a demo of the digital version of the Subarctic Survival Situation, click here.

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