You’re wrong to think that creativity is a minor skill your planning team only needs when it comes to finding venue decoration ideas or deciding on your event’s graphic identity.
It’s also wrong to believe that creativity is an intrinsic feature that few possess. Let’s take it step by step. In the world of events, creativity involves coming up with quick solutions to problems and being comfortable experimenting with new things.
According to Theodore Scaltsas, a chaired professor in Classical Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the brain’s solution-generative mechanism is inherently predictive, wired to bring familiar solutions to a given problem. Being creative revolves around the ability to find new, improbable connections and overcome existing challenges.
As Teresa Amabile, Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, notes, creative thinking refers “to howpeople approach problems and solutions—their capacity to put existing ideas together in new combinations.” On the other hand, although we all differ in our baseline levels of creativity, it’s not an innate skill.
According to Art Markman, Ph.D. and professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, “Creativity isn’t a talent you either have or you don’t, it’s a skill that you can build.” Considering this, here’s a list of best practices you can use to ignite your team’s creative spark and encourage them to find new solutions to planning challenges:
Tip 1. Plan team workshops
You can’t just expect your event team to start being creative out of the blue. As with any other skill, preparation and learning is needed. To help your employees develop their ideation and creative thinking skills, set up a series of professionally led creativity workshops.
During these seminars, your event team will learn to operate as a group while also exploring their creative side. They’ll exercise their lateral thinking skills and come up with new solutions to old challenges. The key takeaway here is to encourage a learning mindset and provide all the necessary tools your event team can use to develop and sharpen their creativity.
Tip 2. Use board games or cards to solve problems
If done correctly, gamification can be a meaningful dynamic you can use to engage your event attendees. But you can also apply gamification to harness your team’s creative potential. Board games and cards are an entertaining yet efficient method to bring out your team’s creative thinking skills while solving problems or puzzles.
Tip 3. Encourage your event team to experiment more
It’s always better to highlight and repeat your intentions and be open to trying new things. This will make your team members feel more comfortable about their creative tendencies. Usually, people will go with the flow and feel hesitant to think outside the box, but when you set a tone that’s flexible and focused on creativity and finding unique solutions, chances are your team members will get bolder and come up with good insights.
Tip 4. Congratulate your team members’ initiatives
Don’t take your team’s creativity abilities for granted. If someone comes with a new initiative, don’t wait to share positive feedback or approval. Your recognition will encourage the team to come up with new ideas and aliment their creative approach in solving planning-related issues or challenges.
Tip 5. Set aside space and time for thinking
When you’re so busy putting out logistic-related fires every day, it’s almost impossible to make the time to engage your creative side. Think about your role. As a team leader, do you think you have enough time to focus on what’s important rather than on what’s urgent? Chances are that you don’t have the luxury of actually thinking from a strategic or creative approach. Instead, you spend almost all of your time on immediate planning emergencies.
Well, the same thing happens to your team members. To solve this problem, you could, for example, reserve Friday mornings for a team brunch, during which people can take a break from their daily tasks and engage in some creative activities.
Call to action
Don’t expect your event team members to become creative just because you want or told them to. What will make them want to explore extraordinary solutions is your attitude as a team leader. If you work on presenting a new approach, such as encouraging creative thinking or engaging people in gamified dynamics, you’ll see magic happen with your team members.