The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

We’ve all been there: the slightly awkward, usually contrived company drinking party where half of those present don’t want to be; the anticlimactic corporate bowling event that seems to drag on for days; or the embarrassing karaoke session with your fellow employees.

Although they are organized with the best of intentions—after all, strong interpersonal bonds and a cooperative workplace environment have been proven to improve productivity and efficiency—many of us loathe the idea of attending offsite corporate team-building events. And rightfully so. Very often, these thinly veiled attempts at organized fun don’t achieve the intended goal.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. At least that’s certainly what The Super Fantastic Company believes. This innovative, Tokyo-based startup offers team-building events that stand out. And the founders—Gabriel DeNicola and Tommy Saunders, both long-term Tokyo residents and experienced event planners—are very enthusiastic about team-building and creating camaraderie in the workplace.

“We truly believe that team-building is critically important for the success of any group or organization,” Saunders said. “We spend the majority of our adult waking lives in the office or at work, and our time spent there should be enjoyable and give us a sense of fulfillment. When organizations can develop this sort of atmosphere, their employees are able to realize their full potential. We feel that—when done right—team-building events are one of the most effective ways of achieving this goal.”

As Saunders explained, the effects can go far beyond the immediate experience: “Participating in team-building activities has proven to boost inter-staff communication, trust, and respect. When this happens, productivity and job satisfaction also rise, and companies can enjoy a greater level of employee output and higher rates of employee retention.”

He said teams that play together often learn how to work much better together, too. “Well-organized team-building events not only allow group members to get to know one another better on a personal level, they also help to highlight individuals’ strengths or areas where they need guidance or support. Groups that are aware of these indi­vidual nuances within their team can better organize themselves to tackle projects or tasks, and thus enjoy higher levels of efficiency and productivity.”

The Super Fantastic Company’s main tool for fueling and facilitating their team-building activities is a sophisticated piece of software called The Go Game—a fully customizable, interactive, and invigorating game platform that asks teams of participants to work together to overcome a series of fun yet challenging tasks and activities in real time.

As DeNicola explained: “The Go Game sits at the inter­section of technology, exploration, and creativity. It has just the right mix of intellectualism, critical thinking, physicality, and a bit of downright silliness. With a variety of game models and different ways to utilize the platform, it offers a super-fun, tech-based alternative for creating, organizing, and running a team-building event. It really is one of the best ways for a group to spend time together and get to know each other in a fun and meaningful way.”

In addition to being the exclusive operators of The Go Game in Japan, The Super Fantastic Company also offers other types of team-building services for groups that aren’t looking for a game-based activity. Some of the experiences they have organized for clients include ziplining excursions, paintball and airsoft battles, and cooking classes. They can also arrange services such as venue bookings, logistical support, and event catering.

Helping to build positive work environment, and having fun while doing it, is the primary goal of The Super Fantastic Company. Saunders and DeNicola said their favorite quote—one that inspires much of what the company does—comes from Plato. “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Teams that play together often learn how to work much better together, too.