Teams are terrific for creating new ideas. A well-run creative session journeys into unchartered waters, so it’s important to build a safe harbor for creative ideas to flourish.
Unleash your team’s creative juices with the following ground rules:
Everyone Is Creative. Don’t accept the excuse, “I’m not creative.” By getting up each day, everyone “creates” their day, so we are all creative in some fashion. You just haven’t had the right opportunity to discover your hidden talent! (You might want to check out your working genius to find out!)
What’s Said Here, Stays Here. In his book, Rousing Creativity, Floyd Hurt asserts that confidentiality counts. “If word spreads that ol’ Joe said something dumb, not only will ol’ Joe not come back, but neither will anyone else.” For a free expression of ideas, nothing leaves the room unless everyone agrees.
Move! Movement inspires creativity. Stand up, move around, wave your arms, draw pictures, etc.
Be Spontaneous. Don’t worry about what others will think of your idea. Don’t think too long or too hard. Just let the creative energy of the group unlock your traditional thinking. Some of the best ideas have come from quiet team members who never considered themselves to be “creative.” But when they allowed themselves to speak spontaneously, their contributions were huge!
Consider Every Idea. Respond to every idea with interest and curiosity, instead of criticism. Look for the positive aspects of the idea. If you need a jump start, try “this idea could work if….” Negative aspects simply become hurdles to overcome. Rather than saying “that won’t fit,” try asking “how can we make it bigger?”
Pitch In. When a team member can’t fully express his or her idea, assist in developing the idea by asking questions and making suggestions.
Hitchhike On Others’ Ideas. When someone says something that sparks a new idea, acknowledge the original idea. Then build on it. Everyone likes a little recognition and it builds the team’s spirit as well.
Check Your Bearings. Especially in creative sessions, it’s easy to wander off course. Be sure to check your bearings frequently (are you really trying to solve the problem?) to make sure you are still moving ahead on the topic.
Allow For “Soak Time.” People often need time alone to create and consider new ideas. Set aside some time for the ideas to “soak” before any decision is made.
Be Patient. Creative sessions start out lively and chaotic. As the team begins to focus, capture key elements on a flipchart pad and refine using a team consensus process.
For more information about elevating your team results, processes and relationships, contact master facilitator, Kristin Arnold at 800.589.4733.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action. Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.
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Photo by Nishant Kulkarni on Unsplash