There are many different reasons why you might want to generate new ideas from your team. These could be because you are developing a new product, or you want to put together a new marketing strategy.
Why should you think in a different space
In order to support the creative process and spark your team’s imagination, it helps to set aside a day or two specifically for this event and to find a place outside of the usual workplace in order to give time to such an important activity.
Apart from making the activity more refreshing, choosing to run the event in an independent training room or venue helps bring a fresh outlook on things through offering a change of scenery as well. Location is a key factor in choosing a training room rental and as city spaces are often popular, it is good to bear this in mind and make an early booking.
On the day of the training
To begin with, it helps to check in with the attendees to get an idea of where things are at before the more in-depth work begins. This can be done through creative icebreaker exercises which help focus the attention of the group.
Open the next part of the session by giving several best practice examples of where new ideas have been implemented in other scenarios or organisations. It is good if some of these are slightly ‘off the wall’ as this will show the range of what could be possible and allow participants to develop the confidence they need to make inspired suggestions.
It is useful at this point to set the tone by suggesting that ‘anything is possible’ and assure the team that all ideas are welcome. You may even want to set those as ground rules if needed.
Part of the problem at team events can be that there are people who feel unable to contribute their ideas if they are faced with a large group of colleagues. This is why it is wise to begin by hosting small group discussions on what participants thought of the examples you presented. Once this part of the process begins, you can be sure that new ideas will not be far behind.
The second task of the small group exercise is the bit you have been waiting for, where the team members begin to come up with their own ideas. This can be done more creatively by using interactive methods such as role play or allowing participants to draw out their thoughts on paper.
All ideas on the table
After this point, it is safe to open the conversation up to a large group discussion where all the ideas are shared and noted down. There can be time set aside for questions and further clarifications. You can get everyone to contribute their final thoughts to the mix before closing the session.
Now you have captured a long list of ideas, it is useful to think about what might happen next. In order for your efforts and training to pay off, you need to put words into action. In other words, how the ideas might be put into action and how to upskill or motivate your team to make it happen. The effort does not stop here!