Blur the line between work and play to spark team creativity.
The way we work is constantly evolving. Gone are the days of 8-hour cubicle isolation; they are quickly being replaced by a collaborative “group-think” environment mixed with a healthy dose of private time. The best workplaces are realizing that collaboration in conjunction with private time is a key ingredient to creativity. In fact, a study shows that 38 percent of workers think that there is not enough collaboration in their workplace. Just as it’s best to vary your workout routine for optimal physical results, it’s best to get your brain working in different ways to encourage creativity.
This realization has led to a rise in collaborative team building exercises as a way to get employees to think outside the box and give them a break from working on their own throughout the day. The switch up is often just what teams need to clear their minds and find new focus. So, what are some of the ways that the most innovative companies are encouraging their employee to think differently?
Six Thinking Hats
Creative Team Building Objective: Problem Solving
Invented by psychologist Edward de Bono, this game involves putting team members in six different thought positions in order to achieve a solution to a problem. Each team member is assigned a “hat,” which represents a different role with a unique set of priorities.
So, if you were assigned the “Management Hat,” it would be your job to make sure that all the other hats have done their jobs correctly and within any set limitations. Taking on these different roles allow team members to think from different perspectives and helps to view the problem from many different areas of thought.
Creative Team Building Objective: Icebreaker & Creative Insight
The point of this activity is to help the team get to know each other and to develop keen insights into how each individual works best and what their believe their strengths and weaknesses are.
Have each team member take a personality test. It doesn’t have to be extensive: A 12 question exam like the DISC Personality Test will suffice. Once everyone knows their personality type and what personalities they mesh best with (supplied in the DISC test), it will be easier to divide work and collaborate more effectively. Remember that these tests are not definitive but more of a fun way to begin the conversation about how each individual works best.
Creative Team Building Objective: Abstract Thought
A common problem experienced during creative collaboration is interpreting what team members mean when they explain abstract concepts. This is a fun, and quite enlightening, game of interpretation that addresses this issue. You may even find yourself using it as a party game outside of work!
You’ll need strips of paper with phrases or actions written out on them, something like “singing in the rain” or “Mother Earth.” Everyone starts with their own phrase and, to the best of their ability, draws it out on the first page of their notebook. After 30 seconds, everyone passes their notebook to the person on their left. That person then has 30 seconds to interpret the drawing and write down what they think it is. The next person draws what the last person wrote. The notebook gets passed again and again until it makes it back to the original owner. Once each notebook is back where it started, the owner of the notebook shows each page to the group and see how the original phrase got interpreted down the line.
This exercise really demonstrates how meaning can get misconstrued and the importance of explaining things with other people’s sensibilities taken into account.
3 Truths, 1 Lie
Creative Team Building Objective: Icebreaker
It’s important to create a bond among team members when working creatively with one another. Familiarity and comfort among the team are key when it comes to communicating ideas effectively. Because of this, it’s a great idea to play a few ice breaker games with your team mates. 3 Truths, 1 Lie is a classic ice breaker that will let your team get to know each other a little better.
Each person writes down 3 truths and 1 lie about themselves. One by one, each person reads their list aloud, not revealing which is the lie. The other team members take their best shot at identifying the lie, and whomever identifies the most lies correctly wins.
Creative Team Building Objective: Creative Thinking
Have each team member bring an object from their desk to the group. Instruct them to create a marketing plan for this product, complete with a branded name, a logo, a tag line and an objective. Each person (or small group) will then get to present their marketing plan to the group.
Once all presentations are finished, discuss as a group which pitches worked and which didn’t and why. This is a fun way to look at ordinary objects in new creative ways. It gets the creative juices flowing and encourages original thinking.
When creative team building exercises are done right, they can have a huge impact on office morale and creativity, not to mention aid in building strong bonds among coworkers. At Paragraphs, we take creativity and teamwork to heart and do everything we can to think differently in order to set our clients apart. When our team is inspired, so is our work!