Mal Blackburne and Adam Todd - The Quizzy Rascals

Business leaders are often left with the difficult task of maximising team performance while at the same time managing the different personalities and relationships within it. An effective team will almost always perform better than a group of individuals working independently from each other, especially when different skills are needed. The Quizzy Rascals is a Wirral based business set up to help leaders to create winning teams, they believe the best way to do this is to inspire, challenge and most of all have fun. We spoke to co-founders Mal Blackburne and Adam Todd to see what the future holds for this innovative and unique business.
 
Tell us about the business. 
“The Quizzy Rascals offer different team building experiences. The bulk of our current business is offering quizzes, much more than the traditional pub quiz though with a number of different packages to suit any occasion or group. Whether it be an 80s music-themed quiz for a 50th birthday or a bespoke quiz based around corporate policies and procedures for an innovative twist on employee professional development training. We have recently developed a brand-new team building exercise based on a treasure hunt that we are really excited about.”
 
How did you come to create The Quizzy Rascals
After taking part in a quiz at their kids’ school, Mal and Adam thought they could do better and volunteered their services. “A quiz isn’t just about proving your general knowledge, it’s about having fun. When we did our version of the quiz we included videos and a music round, we went down a storm and raised £500 for the school.” 
 
That was just last March and since then Mal and Adam have carved a niche for themselves in the corporate team building field. “We discovered that we could disrupt the traditional team-building model. A quiz is a great tool for informing and entertaining, and by creating a competitive atmosphere we can get people to really engage and have a lot of fun. We designed a range of rounds that incorporate physical challenges, logic problems, music questions, this means that no two events are the same and makes us relevant to each business we work with.
 
Tell us about your new treasure hunt exercise
“We recently developed a scavenger hunt that utilises social media and a fully customisable app to create a truly unique, fun and interactive team building experience that combines augmented reality clues and detective work. Participants are put into groups, armed with a smartphone, and sent out on a race against the clock.” 
 
“Last year we ran a really successful hunt with Liverpool University. They needed to find ways of encouraging students from different backgrounds to integrate. Foreign students naturally tend to gravitate towards other students from their own countries or ethnicity which is understandable but can create issues with isolation. Studies show that people make lots of friends in the first year of university and the ones they keep into the second year they tend to keep for life.”  
 
“We sent out 150 freshers on a treasure hunt, in mixed groups, on their very first day. The app pointed the groups of students to certain buildings around Liverpool where they had to answer either multiple choice questions on observations they made, conduct research or take photos of certain objects. For example, we asked which pop star is mentioned in the Philharmonic pub toilets? ** By creating a fun and challenging atmosphere, we got them to engage with each other and just as important, act as a team.”
 
“The university were delighted with the results, they noticed that students who they previously wouldn’t have expected to interact with each other have become close friends. The treasure hunt brought them together in a way that the university hasn’t seen before and six months later, the students are still in the same social groups.” 
 
What’s next for the business?
“Higher education has been our focus but we are really excited about the different applications for the treasure hunts. The aim of a good team building exercise is to improve communication, morale, motivation, productivity and to help team members to get to know each other better, and learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. When we observed the students, we noticed all of these things were happening, plus they had a lot of fun.” 
 
“We can see the treasure hunts working in a corporate setting and this is where we see the value in being a member of Wirral Chamber. We’re now looking for businesses in Wirral that we can work with to show how effective a team building exercise we’ve created. We can create a bespoke hunt for any business we work with and the app can even be skinned with the company logo.” 
 
Who would be your ideal client?
“We want to work with lots of different sectors, each sector has their own challenges that we can tap into. For instance, stockbrokers are risk takers, we can build difficult choices into the treasure hunt with set consequences designed to make the participants think and learn. We really want to work with businesses that value the welfare of their staff. We believe that staff wellbeing is vitally important and what is good for the individual is good for the business. Happy staff are more productive, start with them, create a team and the business will benefit. This is where we believe we can really help.”
 
If you could offer someone else advice on setting up their own business, what would you say?
“Planning, proper planning. A lot of our initial discussions happened in the pub without pen and paper. If we could go back and plan properly then we might be more advanced now. We had hundreds of ideas that we didn’t put down. Also, don’t underestimate what you don’t know. Our model has been quite fluid and we have learned on the fly. Liverpool University were new to this so we have learned together with them.  And, especially as our business is based on fun, we need to be grown-ups at times, but not all the time.”
 
If you would like to see how a team building exercise from The Quizzy Rascals could benefit your business take a look at their website here.
 
** it's Adam Ant if you were wondering.
 

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