Article series on creativity methods for your daily business
How to Work More Effectively – Innovative – Productive
Mobilize for more creativity to foster a fun team culture & promote innovation
In today’s fast-moving and competitive world and a growing workforce competition via Artificial Intelligence (AI), creativity at workplaces has never been more critical.
Working with creativity methods is essential in contemporary, innovation-driven work environments. This specifically applies to User Experience Management (UX) Teams, Marketing, Product Development, Sales, and HR.
Over the last decade, the corporate world, as well as many international and domestic businesses, have felt the consequences of tough competition in global markets.
To lead a company to success and keeping ahead of competitors, the owners, board members, and managers continuously need to attract new talent and retain the most highly qualified professionals and subject matter experts who are versed in modern business processes.
Different companies apply different strategies to become more attractive to new employees. However, creativity methods are still a hidden secret that will make your company more attractive to work for.
The Capabilities of Applied Creativity Techniques
Creativity techniques are capable of increasing motivation, direct staff activities towards implementing plans, mobilize talented employees, stimulate professional ideas, and boost team efficiency. These techniques also help solve work-related issues more effectively.
New technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Applications (APPs), or Virtual Reality are disrupting every industry. To keep up and stay competitive, organizations are increasingly taking an agile approach to innovation, which is impressing upon employees the need to be constantly creative.
Creativity iN Agile Work Environments
The point of Agile is to produce results faster but feels like a recovery exercise.
It’s no wonder that there’s usually not much time left to search for creative ways to solve existing problems.
Creativity is a fundamental component of the Customer Experience Management (CX) process. CX professionals utilize creativity to define requirements, generate ideas, help to develop prototypes, and usually test them via field experiments.
Example: Programming for a Productive Team
User and/or Customer Experience (UX) business units are one of the most challenging and demanding work environments.
Teaming is a great catalyst for creativity, although it can also create barriers to open communication.
During the development cycle, UX professionals work in close quarters with Marketers, Developers, Project Managers, and Quality Assurance (QA) professionals. This makes it easier to have brainstorming sessions around user experience problems, prototypes, designs, and testing results.
However, the high level of involvement makes it difficult for team members to feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts. The more important it is to create a workplace culture that allows every member of a team to work freely, authentically, and creatively. One essential way towards this goal is to apply daily creativity methods.
As a business and marketing consultant, with one foot in the design field and the other in technology, I’ve learned a thing or two about creativity methods and I put them to good use on almost a daily basis.
When working with clients, the main purpose of agile methods isn’t to simply manage work updates; it’s to foster creativity and motivate teams.
With that in mind, I would like to share a small selection of my favored and most impactful creativity methods you can apply for your, e.g. next Sprint Planning, Workshop, or Team meeting.
You can utilize them in any organizational structure to promote teamwork, develop innovative creative products, and improve productivity.
Read on to discover the trending, fun, and effective selection of techniques.
How to Start Integrating Daily Creativity Techniques
Here is one simple method to get yourself started with daily creativity methods at your workplace:
Try The Random Question of the Day!
The best way to get your team thinking outside the box is to challenge them with random questions daily. Many companies use random brain-teaser questions published via Quora and Reddit threads, to create their own “brain-teaser” questions.
You can also develop your own set of questions if you have many employees across different departments, regions, and countries.
Tip: It is also helpful to apply this method to your Social Media audiences. Just ask a random question every day on your Social Media pages for an entire week to see how your audience responds.
Three Helpful Methods to Help Boost Team Productivity
The following three creativity methods specifically work well in facilitation workshops. I have been applying these methods myself and found them in the book “This is Service Design Doing.”
The Three-Brain Warm-Up
The three-brain warm-up is most beneficial as a creativity method when used to kickstart the working day or to shake participants out of a rut or dip in productivity.
To apply this technique, sort your team members into small groups of four people.
The group is divided into the main person – who stands in the middle – and the remaining three people stand A) in front of the main person; B) behind the main person and respectively C) to his/her left and right shoulder.
The group member standing behind the main person’s left shoulder asks simple color-related questions, such as “What color is the sun?” or “What color is the sky?”
The individual standing at the right shoulder asks simple mathematical questions, such as “What is the sum of two and two?” Questions are repeated until the main person provides the correct answer.
The group member standing in front of the main person makes slow and deliberate movements and gestures with their hands which the main person must copy before moving on.
Summary of the exercise: The main person answers visual and mathematical questions, copies movements – simultaneously.
When they are ‘warmed up,’ which is usually after around 30 seconds, the group rotates and switches roles.
At the end of this exercise, the participants can debrief about their performance.
As a result – this exercise promotes creativity. It requires the main subject to activate three different areas of processing in their brain by completing work on three tasks simultaneously.
Most people usually fail initially and find this creativity method extremely difficult which – on the other hand – has a uniting effect within the team.
However, once in the flow-state of this creativity method, subjects are invigorated, energized, and ready to tackle tasks and tap into creative processing at work with renewed energy levels.
Click here if you like to apply this method and need detailed instructions.
The Color Chain Warm-Up
The color chain warm-up exercise is a method that helps optimize communication and project processing skills.
The 6-12 participants stand in a circle and nominate one individual as the captain.
Afterward, the captain assigns a color to the second person in the circle. The second person then gives another color to the third person in the circle, and so on until each person has a color. The last person in the group assigns a color to the captain. The group is passing words to each other in simultaneous chains.
Once the first round has been completed, the captain starts again, giving the second person the same color as before and restarting the chain. The captain repeats this, getting faster with each round, with everyone going round in the circle repeating their assigned colors.
When the captain stops the chain, he requires the participants to remember their color.
The captain then begins a new chain – but this time using a different category, such as animals. The chain members assign each other animals, and the captain repeats the chain a few times until it becomes familiar.
Once the second chain has been completed, the captain will then run the color chain and the animal chain simultaneously. This requires the participants to remember and work with two different pieces of information and listen to two different people.
Once the two chains run smoothly, the captain may then add a third piece of information into the mix, such as e.g., languages.
The challenge to this method is to listen to three different people at a time.
However, you should trust the people around you to do their jobs and pass the correct information at the right time.
This creativity method demonstrates that only by taking responsibility for the correct handover, the information can be successfully transferred. To ensure teamwork and creativity at work, we must trust our colleagues to fulfill their duties and responsibilities within their work scope.
If you would like to apply this method and need step-by-step guidance – click here to get a detailed overview.
The Red & Green Feedback
The final creativity method – encourages the dynamic exchange of information within a workshop setting.
Example: After a Workshop Presentation
There are three steps to this exercise for fostering more creativity at work.
The first step is a general inquiry for questions. This should be kept as brief as possible.
The second and third steps are the red and green feedback, which are key to this creative method.
The “Red feedback” involves criticism or worry shared about e.g., the presentation.
However, those providing the feedback must give red feedback constructively by considering common feedback rules, and providing a suggestion for improvement.
Those receiving the feedback may only respond by saying: Thank you.
With the “Green feedback”, the participants are sharing what they liked about the presentation and what should be continued in the future. Again, the recipients of the feedback are only able to respond with: Thank you.
This creativity method is an example of a closed feedback method. The rules to apply the feedback method require the attendees of the workshop to keep brief and concise with their responses.
Those giving the presentation should be given a challenging short timeframe, such as 1-2 minutes. This encourages participants to utilize their creativity to condense ideas and solely present the most important and relevant aspects of information.
Click here for the detailed instructions on this method.
Modern companies that want to remain competitive and successful, should provide employees with the opportunities and tools, which will further enhance their creativity, boost their morale, and increase overall performance.
Utilizing the presented creativity methods will enhance the team to working together, optimize their communication skills, exercise multitasking by handling different tasks at the same time, and process different types of information simultaneously.
While these creativity methods may seem simple, do not underestimate their impact at the workplace.
Encouraging creativity at work keeps your employees motivated, challenged, and thinking of new solutions. It leads to positive benefits for your business, teams, or immediate work environments in the mid-to-long run.
Would you like to share your most effective and innovative Creativity Techniques with us?
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Three Creativity Methods: This is Service Design in Doing
- Illustrations by Shutterstock
- Sound by Artlist.io
- Vocals by Aylin Ihnen