I love pulling together a small group of people and collaborating on ways to think differently and more creatively. Yet, how many times do you get together with your team and actually take time to dream? How are you challenging your team to be more creative? Today is the first of a three-part series on creativity, and today’s focus is seven ways to brainstorm and develop creativity with your team.
First, provide a creative atmosphere. If you want your team to be creative, don’t stick them in a boring room with blank tables and blank walls. Instead, create a room that says “fun!” Think like a child—bring color into the room, provide fun markers, hang pictures on the wall, play music, provide food, etc. The time invested here will result in big dividends at the end.
Second, define the problem or issue as a creative challenge. What are you asking your team to accomplish during their time together? Are you dreaming about a new event? A new process? Start by clearly stating what you want to accomplish in your time together.
Third, generate ideas first and give everyone a time limit. I love using large sticky notes that I can hang on the wall. Sometimes I will divide a group of 12 into smaller groups of four. The main idea is ideas. Lots of them. Give everyone a “no holding back” rule. In other words, the more ideas, the better. But give them a time limit. It will force them to think quickly. You’ll be surprised at the ideas your team can dream up in just 10 minutes.
Fourth, prohibit criticism when generating ideas. This is not the time to say, “that’s not possible,” or “we don’t have the money for that.” Squelch the negative talk and stick to generating ideas.
Fifth, do not stop at the first good idea. It’s easy to get one idea and get stuck. Don’t! Even if it becomes the best idea, just keep thinking of more. One good idea often creates the ability to think of another, or better, idea.
Sixth, narrow down the top ideas. Often, I have everyone post the “big” list of ideas. Then, I give each person smaller sticky notes and ask them to “mark” the top ones. This helps the team narrow down which ones rise to the top.
Finally, give each idea a “score.” My friend Becky taught me the “fist to five” way of scoring ideas. After narrowing down your ideas to just a few, ask everyone to score the idea by holding up their hands with five fingers being the best idea and a closed fist being the worst idea. It’s a quick way to gauge where the idea is going.
Ready for more? In the second part of this series, we’ll look at tips to staying creative. Keep reading our blog and encourage your team to subscribe so you don’t miss a single post!
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.