Everyone knows that productive brainstorming sessions are imperative to creating stellar presentations. Everyone also knows that the practice of brainstorming has become a little weary. Our brains are over-stimulated and tired. Even after cups and cups of coffee, sometimes we just can’t WAKE UP! Jumping into a brainstorming session these days seems a lot like jumping into an ice cold swimming pool in early Spring. With that in mind, below are five warm-up exercises that will help ease your team into the brainstorming pool.
To help jump-start your team’s brains, try an exercise in words. Choose five random words and ask your team to come up with their opposites. Bright; Dark. Once they have completed that task, ask them to go one step further and come up with three more words that could be considered opposites of the originals. Bright: Night, Dull, Lackluster. Hopefully, your team will come up with less lackluster words. Regardless, you’ll have them thinking about something other than the memos they need to get out by 5:00.
Set up a brief improv performance to encourage your team to put their tin foil thinking caps on. Bring a bunch of ordinary objects to the office and ask people to demonstrate alternative uses for them. You could find out that a grocery bag could double as a papoose or that your sunglasses are really some super x-ray vision goggles meant for use on Neptune. Once your team starts thinking about how to present their ideas, they’ll already be thinking in an inventive way.
If you are looking to your team to help you creatively solve a problem, try an outlandish brainstorming run-through first to get them in the mood. Pose a silly problem – how did the legless chicken cross the road? – and ask your team to think of different ways to overcome it. On its wing tips? This exercise should make people relax and get into a creative frame of mind. When you present your real challenge, your team will already be practiced in the art of imaginative problem-solving.
For this exercise, break down your brainstorming team into smaller groups. Then, present an everyday object like a ballpoint pen and ask each group to come up with as many uses for it as possible. Encourage everyone to be creative and outrageous. Whether or not the proposed uses are completely feasible shouldn’t matter. If a group can explain how a ballpoint pen can help a person take over the world, more power to them!
Get Outside of the Box
Sometimes it really is impossible to be creative in the office environment. Ugh! It’s so beige and boring. Literally get outside of the office box and take your brainstorming team to a different location. Go outdoors, to a coffee shop, to an amusement park – just go anywhere that will get your team to be and think outside of the box. Most of the time, a change in environment works wonders for inspiring creativity.