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Creative Comms meets Taskmaster

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Creative Comms meets Taskmaster

Offbeat and absurd, Taskmaster has oodles of inspiration for creative communicators!

In this British comedy panel game show a group of comedians compete in a series of tasks under the watchful eye of Greg Davies and Alex Horne. The tasks vary, from solving riddles to performing bizarre physical challenges, often leading to unexpected results.

The show’s appeal lies in pushing contestants to their creative limits while keeping audiences in stitches. Taskmaster thrives on the contestants’ creativity, quick thinking, and quirky problem-solving abilities. Or, in many instances, a lack of problem-solving ability! Often, the tasks are ‘lo-fi’, which makes it feel real and something people can replicate at home (or work).

We’ve heard comms pros refer to some of our creativity workshops as a bit like ‘Taskmaster’. That might be stretching things a little, but they are good fun and full of activities to get the cogs turning.

So, why not apply the same principles to your role as a communicator? Let’s delve into some Taskmaster-inspired activities that can help you boost your creativity!

 

Bring some random stimulus to the table

Red wax blob illustration with 'Rather than starting with all the complexities of the challenge, simplify it.'

Taskmaster contestants are often confronted with a random set of objects. Rather than starting with all the complexities of the challenge, simplify it and try to generate ideas based on a random piece of stimulus. This could be anything from a movie, a kid’s toy, or anything you like – don’t overthink it. Use it as your springboard to new and innovative ideas. 

 

The art of quick thinking

In Taskmaster, contestants often find themselves in bizarre situations that require lightning-fast thinking. To hone this skill, challenge yourself and your team to a game of “Thirty Second Brainstorm.” Pick a topic, and within 30 seconds, come up with as many creative ideas as possible. This exercise will sharpen your ability to generate ideas on the spot and to park your inhibitions. Limit time, not possibilities.

 

The odd couple Red wax blob illustration with 'When people are thrown together in absurd scenarios, they create strong bonds.'

Taskmaster unites its contestants. When people are thrown together in absurd scenarios, they create strong bonds. Foster teamwork and creativity by organising “odd couple challenges.” Pair up team members with contrasting styles and strengths. The diversity of thought will lead to fresh, creative ideas. Reach beyond the comms team and work with others to create an even richer pool of odd couple inspiration.

 

On the spot

In the show, surprise elements spice up the tasks, and your communication should do the same. Create a “Wildcard Wednesday” where you introduce an unexpected element into your usual routine. Whether it’s an impromptu brainstorming session or a spontaneous team-building game, embrace the unexpected to stimulate creativity. Or run a ‘drill’ on a random stakeholder request. Pick one of those ‘can you just’ tasks you love to hate and have fun with it. Like Taskmaster contestants, comms pros must be ready for anything, no matter how absurd.

 

Ban the boring

Taskmaster tasks often have constraints on activities. Take a familiar initiative or campaign and set a task to come up with ideas and approaches. Set a time limit for the session. Share or write down all things that are banned. Start with something at the project’s core – if you’re considering an employee survey campaign, ban the words ‘employee survey’. Have fun. Banning one aspect forces you to focus on new and different aspects.

 

Compete, create and share! Red wax blob illustration with 'Embrace the unexpected to stimulate creativity.'

Taskmaster encourages friendly competition between contestants. To address your communication challenge, set a brief for your team or stakeholders to create a poster or social image. Although posters may seem outdated, they are a powerful medium to refine and focus your message while creating a strong hero image. Remember the impact that posters had in promoting movies and wartime messages. Timebox the challenge to complete it within a set timeframe. Share all the submissions and ask participants to vote for a winner. This might not be the final piece, but everyone involved will explore and learn about what’s essential in the communication.

 

Taskmaster’s crazy challenges teach us that creativity can thrive in the most unusual circumstances.

Take a page from the show’s book, embrace the unexpected and push your boundaries. You might find yourself turning mundane communication into something magnificent!

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Gavin Buckle — B&Q

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Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

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Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

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Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

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Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

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Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

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Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead - Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

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