Dr. Clue is NOT:

  • A smart-phone or tablet app
  • An escape room.
  • A “scavenger hunt”.


It’s something completely different.   It’s old-school and new school.  It’s brainy fun for SMART people.


Let’s start with a comparison between tech-based hunts and non-tech hunts.


Why Low-Tech is Actually better than Hi-Tech

About 99% of scavenger hunt companies out there have gone completely tech crazy.   They solely offer smart phone-app scavenger hunts, with all the bells and whistles, figuring that the cooler the tech, the better the experience.

At Dr. Clue, we feel completely the opposite and here’s why:

1) In a smart phone hunt, one person on each team tends to hog the screen while everyone is struggling to look over that person’s shoulder.   The “tech person” feels involved in the game; the others are passively awaiting instructions.  Continually peering at their phone screen, your tech person tends to become  detached and isolated from the group.

2) A smart phone app is cool in some ways — GPS, VR Codes, etc. — but it’s limited in many other ways.   Because the screen is so small, you can’t really deliver complex clues.   At best, a smart phone can offer a bit of wordplay or maybe a *very* simple code, like Pig Latin.   By contrast, the most engaging clues are at least one-page long and require some kind of solving or decoding.   Think the Da Vinci Code, National Treasure or Indiana Jones.   For solving and decoding great clues, you need to be able to write on the clue itself.   For example, unless you’re skilled in Java, how would you do a wordsearch on a smart phone?    Pen and paper is *much* better for the kind of intricate, sophisticated clues we offer at Dr. Clue.     We *do* offer a smart phone app if you want it — but the app is mostly for capturing photos and videos; it never replaces the pen-and-paper clues.



Why “Treasure Hunts” are better than “Scavenger Hunts”

Dr. Clue is most definitely a “treasure hunt” company.   Scavenger hunts generally focus on the execution of a straightforward list, ie. “find these items” or ‘take these photos”.  There’s nothing particularly brainy or intellectually challenging about them.  By contrast, treasure hunts revolve around puzzle-based clues, like what you might see in National Treasure or the DaVinci Code.  Our clues are brainy and cerebral; they’re tricky, cryptic and stimulating.   Treasure hunt clues deliver a very satisfying Eureka Moment when solved.  In a treasure hunt, each clue leads to a specific mystery location, scouted out by your hunt master for its unusual, beautiful, funny or cool quality.   By following the trail of bread crumbs, you and your team receive an irreverent walking tour of the area, encountering all the cool statues, plaques, murals, monuments, mosaics, time capsules, and juke boxes in the hunt zone.

Most importantly, clue solving is very advantageous for team building.  Each clue in a treasure hunt requires a different skill…ie. trivia, word puzzles, logic puzzles, decoding, etc.  Teams quickly discover the task will take a full, intellectual, collective effort!  One person cannot do it alone, which is kind of the point of team building!  Moreover, at the end of day, you can look at your teammates and succinctly acknowledge what each person contributed to the effort.  This doesn’t happen at all in scavenger hunts!  Our Dr. Clue hunts are old school”: pen and paper, pirate style. 🙂  You don’t see this much anymore, but it certaintly adds to the charm!   To stay with the times, Dr. Clue does include a smart phone app in our programs, but the app serves to enhance the clues, not to replace them. (Many scavenger hunt companies these days only offer app and tablet hunts, with no puzzles or clues at all!  Where’s the challenge in that!)



Why “Edutainment” is better than Entertainment

About 99% of scavenger hunts companies out there deliver cut-throat, competitive, take-no-prisoner competitions, like the Amazing Race on steroids.    The goal in such games is to compete aggressively, rewarding winners with prizes and sending everyone else home with little more than the feeling that they’ve had an unsuccessful afternoon.  While this is fine for raising adrenaline levels, it’s not very effective for building overall rapport, trust or camaraderie.  How could it be?   You’re essentially creating new divisions, new silos!

At Dr. Clue, we de-emphasize the competition — minimizing the “us vs. them”, the “winners vs. losers” messaging.   Our focus is on mastery rather than performance, the journey rather than the prize at the end.   Oh sure, we do announce the team with the highest score — of course we do — but then we quickly segueway into the debrief:  what participants can take away from this experience and bring back to the office.   Our programs are edutainment rather than mere entertainment.   During your event, you may do a competitive hunt followed by a collaborative hunt, so participants can see for themselves the pros and cons of the two models.   Our facilitators are all business people, skilled at bringing the conversation focus back to your business.  Remarkably, most companies don’t even offer a debrief!   They just do an awards ceremony.



Why Treasure Hunts are better than Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are cool.  We love them!  But they’re not team development!   Escape rooms fall into the category of “recreation”, meaning they seek merely to entertain, but not to educate.   Although headier than most recreations, they have much in common with bowling, pee wee golf, go karting and Dave & Buster’s.   You raise morale, you release adrenaline, and that’s about it.   There’s no facilitation, no business content, no debrief.  The after-effects are ephemeral at best.   By contrast, our treasure hunts are “team development” exercises…business laboratories where we explore the structures that make teams great IN A VERY FUN, BUT SUBSTANTIVE WAY.   Fully facilitated and debriefed, our treasure hunts programs are true “edutainment” — loaded with content and entirely transformative.  Check out the differences below.



Escape Rooms


  • Indoor, lacking in public “serendipity”
  • You go to their site and that’s all you see
  • Limited choice of locations
  • 90-minutes, max
  • Limitations in headcount (often 12 max)


  • Little educational content/no business debrief
  • Little significant change afterwards
  • Off-the-shelf and generic (no customization)

No Tech Allowed

  • No photos or video
  • No post-event slide show memories
  • No cool smart-phone app technology

Dr. Clue Treasure Hunts & CSR


  • Public: Constant surprises
  • Fun walking tour of the city
  • Multiple locations near your
  • 3-4 hours long (as needed)
  • Unlimited headcount


  • Emphasis on business issues
  • Combination of fun and solid learning
  • Focus on behavioral change
  • Customized to your issues
  • Professional trainers

Tech Embraced

  • Photos, videos and augmented reality
  • A cool smart-phone option
  • Technology fully embraced