How to Get the Best Ideas Out of Your Creative Team
Corporate wellness thrives on creativity, and so you may feel compelled to assemble a super team of individuals who can come up with creative solutions and ideas for your business. The wellbeing of your business depends on getting the right people in your creative team; people who are dynamic, inspired and innovative. However, inspiring this team requires a very specific approach, and, as the leader, it’s your communication skills that will eventually affect the outcome of the session.
Let’s start with what not to do; killing creativity. There’s something very personal about a creative idea, as you’re putting yourself out there to be potentially ridiculed or told that something you like won’t work. If there’s an atmosphere of criticism in the session, no one is going to want to speak up and so great ideas could end up lost forever. Never utter the following phrases:
- It won’t work.
- We’re not ready for that.
- It isn’t practical.
- It’s already been done.
- That’s just plain stupid.
Instead, foster an environment which encourages openness and idea-generation. Sometimes a crazy or silly idea can inspire a brilliant one, or can be combined with elements of other ideas to create the solution you need. Once you’ve got your crack team of creative individuals and understand what not to do, it’s time to apply the LCS system. This is how you nurture new ideas and allow them to develop; reacting in the right way:
- L is for Likes – When someone suggests an idea or solution, start by saying what you like about it. Reacting first and foremost with positivity will enable everyone to feel comfortable sharing every creative idea that comes to mind.
- C is for concerns – Once you’ve covered the positive aspects of the idea, you can move on to what doesn’t work. Never use the phrase “I don’t like…” but instead, use terms like “What concerns me about this…” or “I’m unsure about…”. It’s important to share your concerns, not only to illuminate potential pitfalls in an idea, but also because sharing concerns can begin a dialogue that paves the way to the creative process. By saying “I’m concerned about XYZ,” someone else in the group might have an answer to your reservations, or a solution to make the idea better.
- S is for suggestions – If you’ve covered the likes and concerns, you need to then work on ways to improve the idea. If you don’t have any suggestions or solutions, offer it up to the room and brainstorm together. This helps to move the conversation along and may even generate a set of brand-new ideas.
Your creative team doesn’t only have to include your current employees; you can turn to anyone you trust and admire for suggestions. Anyone can contribute a new and useful perspective, so it may be helpful to talk to friends or family members before the meeting to see if their ideas might have traction. If your team is reluctant to start spit-balling ideas, you can bring out the list that your friends have come up with, and ask employees what they think. This can get the ball rolling, even if the initial ideas don’t work out. It may also be beneficial to invite along a few individuals who will challenge and disagree with your employees. These people are best used in small doses to stretch the group’s thinking, rather than irritating everyone to the point where they don’t want to participate anymore. Make sure that whoever is invited understands the LCS system, and any other ground rules that help to get the creative juices flowing.