How Can Teams Re-Discover Their Creative Spark?
To reignite team creativity, embrace diverse perspectives, challenge assumptions, and prioritize playfulness and reflection.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
When teams reach a creative slump, the well of inspiration seems to run dry. Have your team members lost their creative spark? Here are a few proven ways to re-ignite the imagination and spark new innovations.
First, get outside. A change of scenery and fresh perspectives are rocket fuel for creativity. Organize an offsite meeting in a stimulating new locale. Visit an art museum together or take a hike in nature. New sights, sounds, and people refresh tired neural pathways.
Next, look for problems, not solutions. Creativity blossoms when tackling open-ended problems without obvious solutions. Present your team with a challenge that has no clear pathway. Let them loose to brainstorm possibilities. The frustration of wrestling with a knotty problem unlocks the imagination.
Also, bring in an eclectic group of outsiders. People who offer radically different viewpoints and experiences introduce fresh eyes. Ask clients, academics, competitors, and even children to share their perspectives. The cross-pollination of diverse worldviews generates creative friction.
Furthermore, take time for play and fun. Laughter, games, and humor dissolve fixation and open perspectives. Make your next meeting an improv performance. Surprise colleagues with costumes and skits. Playfulness re-channels how the mind makes connections.
Lastly, learn from innovations outside your field. Look to cutting-edge creations in the arts, sciences, and culture. How can your team emulate these creative breakthroughs? Every innovation holds a potential spark for your work.
Creativity flows when neurons forge new pathways. Help your team escape routine and make unlikely connections. Break free from the ruts of familiarity. By nurturing their natural creativity, you may be amazed by how your team re-captures the magic.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
The book "Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional" by Agnes Callard provides valuable insights into re-igniting creativity within teams. Callard is a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago who has extensively studied human imagination and creativity. Her research offers a thoughtful perspective on how teams can rediscover their creative spark.
1. Encourage intellectual risk-taking. Callard argues that creativity requires exploring ideas without knowing where they will lead. Teams should feel safe to experiment with unconventional concepts and be willing to fail. A psychologically safe environment fuels imaginative thinking.
2. Question assumptions. Our minds easily fall into rigid patterns. Pushing teams to constantly question their underlying assumptions forces them to think differently. Asking "why" repeatedly shakes up stale mindsets and clears the path for fresh perspectives.
3. Cross-pollinate ideas. Exposing teams to inspirational ideas outside their normal fields ignites creative insights. Rotate team members through initiatives in other departments or bring in outside experts to infuse innovative thinking. Connecting diverse concepts creates novel hybrid solutions.
4. Allow time for reflection. Today's frenetic pace leaves little space for contemplation. But reflection allows promising ideas to percolate and make associations between disparate concepts. Build in unscheduled time for teams to think without distractions. Solitude cultivates the seeds of creativity.
By encouraging intellectual daring, questioning assumptions, connecting diverse ideas, and providing time for reflection, teams can rediscover the imagination that drives innovation. Callard's research on the creative process provides practical ways to spark renewed creativity. With the right environment, your team's creative wells can overflow again.