A brainstorming meeting is meant to be a stimulating, no holds barred event. Hey, it’s even meant to be fun. So why, when it is intended to be a positive team building exercise, is it so often dreaded?
The panic sets in when you ask your team for ideas and get the same stuff that has been hashed over time and time again. Who can blame them? If they’re stuck in the same old meeting venue with the same faces, same ideas, and same tired sandwiches drying out on a tray, you cannot expect fresh ideas. There is possibly nothing more frustrating than to be told to “think outside the box” when you feel boxed in by corporate thinking and ideas.
Delivering a productive and creative brainstorming meeting can feel like an insurmountable task, but there are some easy and practical ways to shake things up and inspire your team.
“You are what you eat” implies that you need to feed your body healthy foods in order to be healthy. Apply the concept of “you think what you experience” to idea generation, means that what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell adds to the wealth of our entire experience. Being stuck in a formal work environment, your team is experiencing much of the same stuff they do every day.
Here are five tips for creative team building at work
- Play: When we are engaged in creative endeavours and playful activities, the part of the brain that controls inhibitions is temporarily shut down and we become more relaxed. In a relaxed state our brains have the ability to subconsciously make connections between seemingly random thoughts.
- Challenge yourself to try new things: One of the other activities that allow us to break through creativity barriers is to do new things. The more we challenge ourselves, the stronger the connections in our brains become. New experiences quite literally create “food for thought”.
- Struggle a bit: it is human nature to default to behaviours and methodologies that are easy so you need to build in some tasks that your team will need to struggle with if they are to feel tested and inspired. Sometimes we need to struggle in order to overcome self-imposed barriers. This doesn’t mean you should suffer, it could be simple as doodling ideas with your non dominant hand, or as challenging as learning a musical instrument. Studies have shown that students who struggle at school are more likely to be successful in the long term than those for which school was easy. Struggling and failing and struggling again builds resilience and persistence.
- Open up to new places: Consider taking your meeting out of the office. A private space at a coffee shop, art galleries, parks. Anywhere that isn’t full of desks and computers which are a distraction
- Better yet, book your team on a day’s art, singing, drumming or improv workshop.
By getting your team into a positive, playful mood and challenging them to think differently, you will break down barriers to creativity, create new bonds and generate new business ideas. And all this with a few simple changes.