A deadline is approaching, but you’re feeling stuck? The pressure to produce is suffocating you and you end up feeling sad and disappointed? We sincerely hope that you have never experienced anything like that. But if you’re reading this, the chances are – you have. Not being able to immediately come up with another genius idea is understandable and isn’t correlated to your talent. Nevertheless, in some cases at work you have to be able to put together ideas and create new projects.
We decided to write this article to remind you that creativity can be trained. And you can succeed in it using several exercises and challenges we’re going to introduce you to.
Just like with every muscle in our body – the more you exercise in creativity, the stronger this skill will become. According to Psychology Today, creative problem-solving sessions with people who had been training in creativity tools generated 350% more ideas than groups without even minimal training. Moreover, these ideas are generally 415% more original.
Why Is Creativity So Important In the First Place?
A few years ago, the Bloomberg Job Skills Report showed that recruiters consider creative problem-solving to be the second-most difficult skill to find among job applicants. Later on, Adobe conducted a broad study that proved that students need to develop creativity to protect their future as the professionals that require such skills will be less affected by automation.
Creativity is related to nine of the top-10 skills that global executives say are essential for employees in 2021 and beyond. Getting back to the Psychology Today’s article mentioned earlier, 94% of hiring managers state that it is essential to consider creativity when hiring a job candidate.
Challenge #1 – Mind Mapping
Mind maps are one of the best ways to capture your thoughts and bring them to life in visual form. By the way, mind mapping is not just ‘note-taking’. In fact, it’s ten times better because here you can incorporate not only words but also images. You can easily find useful mind mapping tools online (MindMaster, Miro, MindMup). Even though a mind map may look like a colorful, childish drawing, it contains a lot of information and helps you get an overview of a large subject. The trick here is to come up with natural associations that will create unexpected chains.
Mind maps can be used practically for anything – group brainstorming, learning a new subject, planning your career, or taking meeting notes.
How it works?
If it’s your first mind map, then it’s better to draw one by hand.
- Think of a picture for your main idea and draw it in the center.
- Use colors and curved lines to make your brain more excited.
- Connect the main branches to the central image.
- Connect your second-level branches to the main ones, and so on.
- Continue using pictures and write down one keyword per line.
- Be creative! Remember that there is no one single right way to create a mind map.
Challenge #2 -The Thirty Circles
The Thirty Circles challenge is an icebreaker that will encourage your creative confidence. You can perform it before an important brainstorming session, for example, as this exercise will help ‘warm you up’ and challenge you to think outside of the box. The exercise can be done alone or in a group.
How it works?
You will need a sheet with thirty identical circles.
The challenge is to turn every blank circle into a recognizable object.
Time limit: 3 minutes.
Let your creativity lead the way and draw any objects and figures that come to your mind when you’re thinking about the project. You’ll be surprised to see how many ideas can be born from this session. Challenge your colleagues to do it with you to see more inspiring and fun illustrations.
Challenge #3 – “Speed Dating”
Another icebreaker, but, this time, for a creative team that wants to discover new ideas and get to know each other a bit better. Spare at least half an hour to do this exercise before a brainstorming session. Juniors, seniors, interns, managers – anyone can participate (in fact, inviting people from different corporate levels makes it much more effective).
How it works?
- Split the groups in pairs.
- Sit down in front of each other and ask the questions that have been printed out on a piece of paper. These might be neutral questions: ‘Do you have any pets?’ ‘What inspires you?’ Or more work-related questions: ‘What’s your favorite part in your job?’ ‘What skill would you like to improve?’
- After 5 minutes, change partners.
The group will be able to, later on, generate more creative ideas as you eliminate a few psychological barriers by getting to know each other better.
As a cool bonus to your self-presentation, you can make a personality sandwich. Quite literally.
Draw a visual sandwich that includes all the things that you love. You can also give your sandwich a name.
This exercise will not only help you with your self-presentation, but it also makes you practice divergent thinking – a free-flowing thought process during which you come up with ideas or solutions related to a chosen problem.
Challenge #4 – A Customer Journey Map
Making a Customer Journey Map is a useful creative exercise for the companies that sell products or services. The challenge helps develop empathy and put yourself in the client’s shoes. As a result, you will be able to meet the customer’s expectations and ensure an overall wholesome client experience.
How it works?
The map is a visual representation of all the steps a customer goes through before making a purchase.
- Give your buyer a name for a more personal approach.
- Who is, for example, Annie?
- What is Annie looking for?
- Identify the ‘touchpoints’ – all the occasions when Annie may come in contact with your brand (reviews, online ads, an opinion of a friend).
- What were the main problems that Annie had to face during his customer journey?
- Develop a plan to fix the problems.
Don’t forget to write down ALL the creative thoughts that come to mind (even if you are in the middle of a meeting or a workout session).
We tried all these challenges at Perfomante and had a great time getting to know each other and creating new exciting projects that we’re currently working on. We hope they will be useful to you and your team too!
You have already completed our challenges and generated a lot of ideas but don’t quite understand how to bring them to life? Perfomante can assist you with video-related content. A team of professionals will work on your case and deliver a vibrant video ad within the shortest time frame. Moreover, a catchy clip will help you generate more leads and increase engagement. After all, what’s the point of completing creativity exercises, if you can’t monetize the result, right?