This group exercise works well when some of the team members are experiencing creativity blocks and are finding it difficult to come up with new ideas. Use it when ideas should be fluid, when you are looking for innovation or new solutions. The exercise is about reflecting and finding as many reasons for the lack of creativity as possible. It ends with a symbolic throwing out and destruction of all barriers. Due to the fact that the exercise includes an element of physical activity, it also has a positive effect on energy in the group.
- Ask each team member to write down, on separate pieces of paper, different blocks affecting their creativity, anything that decreases their imagination. Reassure them that it could be anything: external conditions -temperature, place; their own physical condition – how they feel at a given moment; or what’s happening in the group – the topic they’re working on or what others are saying for example “We’ve tried that before”, “It will never work”, or “We don’t do it that way”; and how others behave. One factor per sheet. Create a list of negative expressions.
- Ask each team member to create an arsenal of paper wads (see the photo below)
- After 10 minutes of work, ask the group to stand on one side of the room, holding their crumpled paper ammunition. Set the trash bin or a box a few meters in front of them.
- Have them take turns reading loudly one creativity block and throwing it into the basket. It doesn’t matter if they end up in the basket, it IS important that they do it with significant force and expresion. They should be convincing in acting out getting rid of the unwanted barrier.
- At the end, ask the team what they want to do with all that trash? Keep it? Get it out of the room? One of our groups proposed burning them… and a name was born! 🙂
- How are they feeling after the exercise? Did this experience help things change?
- Was it difficult to reflect on creativity blocks? Yes, why? No, why?
More inspiration for boosting group creativity you can find here: How to stimulate group creativity
- Paper (recycled is the best option)
- Trash bin or any other box
Elevated energy in a group, heightened awareness of different factors that can block our creativity and that each of us struggle with imagination limits, also stronger group bonds.