Creative Thinking Workshops: Boosting the Creativity of Teams
Creative thinking is discovering new ways of looking at things. The work of teams is centered on accomplishing goals and solving problems, and if a team can continually discover new ways of looking at goals, objectives, problems and obstacles, they can dramatically improve productivity. Consider the teams within your organization. Could they use a creativity boost? If so, consider scheduling a creative thinking workshop to help them to see new possibilities.
Changing Your Team's
The 2D front-view of the cube below may look like an optical illusion, but when you rotate it, you see that the actual "cube" isn't a cube at all.
Creative thinking is about exploration and investigation. It is about testing assumptions and looking at things from different perspectives. Creative thinking is about being open to the possibility that your ideas and assumptions may include inherent flaws and limitations.
Seeing Old Things in New Ways
Our minds want to understand, and in the process of understanding we develop mental models about how things are.
Unfortunately our mental models often include misconceptions and a limited view of the world.
Creative thinkers are continually exploring new perspectives and restructuring their mental models about work, teams, people, projects, processes and life itself. Creative thinkers have developed the capacity to see old things in new ways.
When People Change Their Mental Models
For many centuries, most people believed the world was flat. A few Greek astronomers and philosophers postulated that the world was actually round. It took a long time for scientists to disprove the flat earth model and change the mental models of the masses. But they did it, and now the round earth model skeptics are gone.
Your mental models determine your attitudes, your outlook, your strategies and your current course of action. Stuck thinkers are frozen in old mental models that are extremely resistant to change. Creative thinkers are not only open to new possibilities, they are often the leaders and the agents of change for those around them.
Getting Your Teams to See Old Things in New Ways
Your success as an organization is linked to the ability of your teams to see old things in new ways. We operate in a dynamic, changing world and economic climate. New perspectives are necessary to staying competitive.
Let us help your teams learn to change their mental models and to spark new levels of creative thinking. Contact us for more information about our creative thinking workshops.
Breaking Out of Uncreative and Unproductive Habit Patterns
Human beings are creatures of habit, and neuroscientists tell us that our brains get stuck in well-worn neural pathways that keep us thinking uncreatively. We spend vast amounts of money on productivity tools like office software suites, but most of us don't use these tools to their full potential. Once people learn how to do word processing, email, spreadsheets and presentations, they rarely go deeper to discover the amazing things they can do with the software. They figure out how to get the job done, and do it the same from then on.
We learn how to communicate at an early age, and we develop habits of communication. We do incrementally improve those habits as we get older - but what great communicators we have the potential to be, if we can learn to break out of some of those old habits altogether! Teams, as well, have their own processes for accomplishing tasks and completing projects. Can those processes be improved? Of course. But the tendency is to continue to do what we know how to do, in the way we learned how to do it. Your teams are getting the job done, but with more creative thinking, they can find new ways to continually improve productivity by breaking out of old habit patterns.
Discovering New Ways of Thinking About Work
For some people, work is about coming in every day, following procedures, getting the job done and collecting a paycheck. It can be so much more than that, but experiencing more requires new ways of thinking about work. Some people have a passion for their work and are fully engaged. They get much more out of their work than the paycheck, because they see something that others don't see. If the members of your teams can discover new, creative ways of thinking about work, the entire organization will benefit from the new discoveries in creative thinking. And new ways of thinking about work lead to new ways of thinking about processes, people, communication and teamwork.
Look at the yellow maze below. Now use your finger to draw a path from A to B.
Is this a difficult problem to solve? Not really. Even a child knows how to follow the maze and get from A to B. But is that the quickest way to get there? The instructions don't actually say anything about following the maze. Based on the instructions given, you can disregard the yellow lines and draw a straight line from A to B in a fraction of a second. On the other hand, if you are assuming that, because it is an image of a maze, you must stay within the yellow lines, getting from A to B takes considerably longer to do. Isn't it amazing how assumptions can limit the creativity of your thinking? And this lack of creative thinking can really affect productivity. Without creative thinking, the job still gets done... but there is a real cost in terms of time and effort involved.
We've-always-done-it-that-way thinking is a huge barrier to creative thinking, and effective teams consistently look at old processes with new eyes, continually testing their assumptions. Business guru Peter Drucker once said,
"If you get the wrong answer to the right question, you usually have a chance to fix it. But if you get the right answer to the wrong question, you're sunk."
Too often we fail to answer the right questions; we approach problems according to our assumptions and preconceived notions. I could answer the question, "How can I draw a path through this maze from A to B?" But I could also answer the question, "What is the shortest path between two points?" The most important question, of course, is "Do I know the right questions to ask before I begin the actual work of solving this problem?"
Our creative thinking workshops are designed to help your teams to focus on asking the right questions and testing assumptions. Creative thinking is unleashed when you remove the internal barriers of stuck thinking.
Fostering Creativity & Innovation
Often a newly-hired person will have questions like "Why do we do it this way?" about processes that don't seem to make sense. Sometimes the only answer they get is something along the lines of "Because that's the way we've always done it." Instead of just teaching new people to accept old ways of thinking, couldn't we also learn new ways of thinking from them? All human beings are inherently creative, but some may not be exercising their creative capacities. We will stimulate the creative thought processes in your teams and teach them how to innovate.
Webster's dictionary defines "innovate" this way: "To change or alter by introducing something new; to remodel; to revolutionize." If you have a research and development department, they know their job is to innovate - but how about the rest of your organization? It may not be on their job description, but it's everyone's job to find new ways of improving results through innovation. A little innovation can breathe new life into stale meetings. Innovation can save money, improve productivity and increase employee engagement. When the creative juices begin to flow, people feel a greater sense of ownership.
We can work with you to design a customized workshop that not only gets people thinking more creatively, but can actually draw out new and innovative ideas for making a difference in daily operations. Roger Reece can facilitate problem-solving and process-improvement sessions that will focus on your organization's current issues and obstacles. When ideas are driven down from the top, they are often met with resistance. But when the teams that must implement the changes are the ones who are coming up with the ideas, you get instant buy-in, and often better ideas. By including managers and employees in the creative thinking sessions, you'll be assured that the creative and innovative initiatives that come out of the sessions are workable and practical. Our workshops aren't just a time to have fun and think about creativity - they are an opportunity to initiate action.
Eliminating "Can't Do" Attitudes
Can't do attitudes are deadly in teams. They squelch new ideas and kill motivation. When the barriers to change appear to be large and insurmountable, the result is a kind of delusional thinking where people think it actually can't be done. And if people think it can't be done, it generally won't get done. If they are forced into compliance, they drag their feet and complain in the process.
Can do attitudes are the result of creative thinking. What a team believes, they can achieve, if they keep looking for a way to make it happen. When people focus on possibilities rather than barriers, they uncloud their thinking and discover innovative solutions in the process. But can't do thinking is insidious. It causes people to get cynical and automatically shoot down new ideas as impossible. Your teams need to be infused with can do attitudes and creative thinking.
Reframing Complaints into Creative Solutions
Some people seem to look for things to complain about. But chronic complainers are so skilled at complaining that it's just a natural flow. There's almost no effort involved: all they have to do is think about or observe what's going on around them, and the complaints start to flow into their stream of consciousness. It's highly unlikely any master complainers on your team actually set out to develop this skill. They simply picked it up from other complainers. It's an easy skill to fall into, but a difficult one to unlearn.
The skill of creative thinking is a very good way to replace the skill of complaining. Creative thinkers are skilled at spontaneously reframing problems into possibilities and solutions. Creative thinking is a skill that can be learned like any other; and in our programs we teach teams to think creatively about the very things they complain about. As their skill develops, creative thinkers realize that a complaint can be a positive thing, when it becomes the seed for a creative idea. (Necessity is the mother of invention!) By combining ownership and accountability with creativity, team members learn to reframe complaints into real solutions that improve not only their work environment, but their attitudes as well.
Complaints without actions lead to feelings of powerlessless and victimhood. And those feelings are themselves the cause of so much of the blame-shifting and finger-pointing that go along with chronic complaining: people want to find perpetrators to make sense of their negative feelings. Creative reframing transforms complaints into challenges to be solved. This skill is both empowering and motivational, and it moves people effectively past complaining, blaming and victimhood. Our creative thinking workshops teach teams how to develop this powerful skill.
Creative Teams are Engaged Teams
According to a recent poll by the Gallup Organization, a full 49% of employees in the U.S. workforce are disengaged in their work. Another 18% are actively disengaged and disrupting other employees. If only one in three employees actually feels engaged in their work, there is clearly a need for improvement. Regardless of how your organization measures up against these statistics, there is no question that a higher degree of employee engagement will improve productivity, morale and your bottom line.
Creative employees are more engaged employees. Creative teams are more involved teams. Jumpstart the creative thinking and engagement of your teams with a creative thinking workshop. We can offer a single workshop or a series of workshops designed to increase employee engagement and creativity over time. We can also augment the workshops with coaching for your managers, supervisors and key employees. Contact us for a free telephone consultation with Roger Reece to explore ideas for customizing a program specific to your needs. Don't wait for the disengaged and actively disengaged employees in your organization to erode your bottom line. Work with us to formulate a plan to fully engage your teams with creative thinking.
Get Creative Today
We can structure creative-thinking workshop sessions in small, two-hour chunks over over one or several days, or we can kick things off with a full-day offsite event. But nothing will happen until you make the first move. Contact us today, and we will send you an overview of the kinds of programs we can provide along with fees and a variety of options. You can take us up on our offer of a free telephone consultation with Roger Reece, or if you prefer, we can email you a few questions to answer, and then we'll send you a detailed outline and agenda for a workshop for your team.
Sometimes the most creative thing you can do is to take action. So get creative! Contact us now and let's get started with a strategy to boost creative thinking and innovation throughout your organization. An investment in the creativity and engagement of your workforce will pay off substantially. We look forward to hearing from you.