Here at the Endicott House one of our top priorities as a conference venue is giving our guests the best possible distraction-free environment in which to work, plan or grow together as a team. We have many groups book meetings here with goals related to increasing their productivity and creativity. To that end, here are a few things we’ve learned about how to boost creativity when your team needs it most.
Extended preparatory brainstorming
Brainstorming is the first step to develop any plan and while it can be compressed into a short span, it may be helpful to do some ahead of time. Spend several weeks or months writing down ideas, such as one idea per team member per day. With extended time and brainstorming tools, you’ll certainly have more ideas to work with and ideas from a broader scope can be included.
Effective teams seldom result quickly from throwing random people together. That’s especially true when people have dissimilar opinions and ways of seeing the world and your work. Some may prefer to work independently and are not used to working in groups, and become interested in competition or conflict more than the group’s goals. Frequent reminders of the group’s goal is one role a leader plays in addition to the potential solutions that will come out of the creative sessions.
Before arriving at the conference venue- collect outside ideas
Creativity can be boosted when we can see solutions others have come up with. Encourage each team to browse for ideas and recommendations online. Outside ideas may spark on in your group that takes it further or applies existing solutions differently.
Every team should have a leader, including someone who leads all of the teams. Monitor the progressive steps that each team is making, and make sure that each person is participating in the collective effort. Participation can look different for each person; there are those who talk a lot and use a lot of group time in verbal participation, but may not produce like a quieter person who says little, but contributes just as much.
Manage off-topic conversations
The team leader should discourage off-topic discussions that have nothing to do with the team activities, unless it can be brought to bear on the problem at hand. There is a place for socializing and small talk, but there will come a time when the deadline looms and solutions are called for, and a good leader has a sense for the proper balance, at the conference venue and back in the workplace.
Focus on Themes
Creative people stay focused on themes and goals, and are usually able to connect what they are doing or saying to a broader principle. Groups that can detect these attachments and use them to guide their problem-solving are highly productive and self-correcting.
Increasing individual creativity is a task that takes some time and effort to develop. The same is true for groups, teams and departments. We hope that the environment here at the Endicott House proves that we are a conference venue that is conducive to the kind of productivity you need to boost your contribution to the world!