Can you teach a team to be creative?

We were recently referred to a social media marketing agency who wanted a fun team building event that would teach their team to be creative. My first thought was that creativity is not something that can be taught, but we could certainly share techniques we have used to facilitate creative thinking workshops, where we essentially need to take teams from A to B.

In a span of 3 hours, we helped a team of 10 generate and converge on ideas for 3 hypothetical marketing campaigns, diverging into over 400 ideas, and crystallising them for presentations to a guest judge at the end of the day!

Teamworx Creative Thinking Framework

If you’re looking for ways to guide your ideation process (as a group or individually), then this blog post shares the framework we came up with that blends principles from Design Thinking, Visual Facilitation, and uses a facilitation technique that flips an idea on it’s head.

Diverge

At the start of a successful ideation process is Divergence. This is where we generate ideas and focusing on quantity over quality. The way to do this is to remove constraints and embrace every idea (even if you think it’s too far fetched or crazy). Crazy 8′s is a really good facilitation technique to use in this part of the process.

Teamworx Creative Thinking Framework

Emerge

The next part of the process is where ideas emerge by means of distillation, refinement, or inspiration (fusing two ideas together, or coming up with a new idea). To help the ideas emerge further, we provide feedback about each other’s ideas. In this particular workshop, we encouraged participants to walk around the room and tag up everyone else’s Crazy 8’s poster with feedback and suggestions on post-its. This allowed us to go through a round of feedback very efficiently.

Converge

After a phase of emergence, you’ll start to identify clear themes and this is where winning ideas start to stand out. From here you can pick a winning idea to flesh out further, and you may decide to move into another cycle of DIVERGE–>EMERGE–>CONVERGE.

Flip

This part of the process draws inspiration from the Gamestorming “Flip It” technique. We encouraged our participants to come up with the worst possible campaigns to market their products. Flipping your thinking helps you see things from a different perspective. In fact, a few of the “worst” campaign ideas actually had legs to become really good ideas. Applying a “Flip” in the DIVERGE part of the creative process allows you to diverge even further, from a different angle.

Visualise

The last part of the Teamworx Creative Thinking Framework is to utilise visual thinking to reduce your mental workload and help the brain “join the dots”. Visualising your idea doesn’t have to take the form of a sketch. It could be as simple as writing the idea down on a post-it.

Benefits of Thinking Visually in a Creative Process

And there you have it, techniques to facilitate the creative thinking process. A big shout out to the team at Mosh Social Media. We can’t wait to see the winning ideas from your next marketing campaign. Get in touch with us if you think you could use a creative thinking workshop!