7 Ways to Boost Creativity in the Conference Room

Published by Judy Melson

That moment during a brainstorming workshop when you ask for input and your team begins to avoid eye contact.  You ask, is it me or did the coffee pot suddenly stop working this morning?  Perhaps the problem is creativity within groups.  We’ve all met the social loafer who slacks off in a  group setting, the conformist who is afraid of judgment, the production blocker who dominates the conversation, and the performance matcher who only generates ideas as good as the lowest performer.

Here are some ideas for increasing creativity during your next brainstorming session:

  1. Establish expectations: create an environment where all ideas are welcome and no one plays devil’s advocate. Use discussion leads to set new norms and new interaction patterns.
  2. “What gets measured gets done:” consider measuring creativity and rewarding teams based on the quantity, flexibility, originality, or novelty of ideas.
  3. High benchmarks: let your team knows their ideas will be recorded and/or contribute to public displays.
  4. Electronic brainstorming: collaborate online, instantly see what others are thinking, add your two cents, and innovate from any geography and without interrupting others.
  5. Try something new: apply Brainwriting, the Nominal Group Technique, or the World Café Method to keep teams engaged and shake up traditional brainstorming.
  6. Bring in the experts: our consultants have facilitated a variety of meetings, from board strategic planning sessions to statewide summits, using a wide range of methodologies to achieve effective, creative, and action-oriented results.
  7. Don’t forget to have fun: keep the meeting lively and engaging, with plenty of opportunities for action and peer-to-peer learning.