We run creativity workshops with clients and comms teams, sharing how to make creative thinking your everyday thinking. This series of posts shares the thoughts and experiences of those who’ve attended.
We asked Amy Lilja, Internal Communications Manager for Hennepin Healthcare to share her insight into the session Alan delivered remotely, not long before the COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of miles couldn’t stop Alan sharing his creativity tips and tricks and, in her own words, Amy explains how the session was received …
What gave you the idea to hold a creativity workshop for your team?
The idea came about as part of an effort to improve engagement on our marketing communications team by providing more opportunities for our team members to be creative and innovative at work. Although we already considered creativity a strength of our team, we felt that by developing, practicing, and sharing our creativity, our team members would feel a greater sense of accomplishment and pride in their work and the rest of the organization would recognize our team’s value and strength. As a first step, we wanted to ground the team in what creativity is and provide a safe setting to practice the creative process. That led us to the creativity experts at Alive with Ideas and their creativity workshops.
What did you think of the session?
Because thousands of miles and an ocean separate us from the Alive with Ideas offices, we did a virtual session through Zoom. At first we were worried about doing it virtually instead of in person, but it went so well! The team enjoyed the session not only because they learned a lot, but also because Alan made it so much fun and engaging. Alan also kept things very simple and approachable with lots of real-world examples and interactive exercises. Despite not being there with us in person, Alan managed to connect with the group and make us laugh, and his enthusiasm was palpable. It was a great team building event and everyone left feeling energized.
Which activities resonated most with you and why?
The exercises were so simple but so illustrative of the way the brain works. One activity that resonated with our team was using our imagination to translate what an object could be perceived as i.e. donut as wheels on a segway. We learned that while this skill comes quite naturally to children, it is not entirely a “dead skill” among adults (although likely less exercised). If we allow our inner child to come out, it can be illuminating and even fun to make a relationship between two seemingly unrelated things. This skill is a great exercise for generating ideas with no limitations. Another activity involved our team choosing two random words and combining them into a concept to solve a business challenge. It was a great way to understand how creativity works and demonstrate how easy it can be for anyone to be creative. It also highlighted the value each of us brings to the team through our own unique experiences and perspectives. When we share ourselves and our ideas with the rest of the team, it leads to more connections and ultimately more creativity.
What’s changed since you attended the workshop? How are you doing things differently?
We started a creativity workshop series where we invite a variety of different experts to come talk to our team (although it’s currently on hold while we respond to COVID-19). The second expert we had come was a sketch artist who led us through a few exercises to practice observation and seeing the present moment. We hope to have more experts join us in the future so we can keep exploring and practicing creativity. We have also shared what we’ve learned with other work teams to help make our organization more creative. Members of our team have also expressed they are more likely to share and discuss ideas, as well as listen to and act on others’ ideas.
What learnings have you managed to apply to the current crisis situation? Are people managing to find a moment to be creative with their work at home?
I think the complications of COVID-19 have generated ideas that would not have come about otherwise. For instance, as we were generating ideas for our 2020 Nurses Week campaign, we were more creative because we had to work within the constraints presented by COVID-19, such as having to reach people virtually. Those constraints actually led to some amazing ideas that we wouldn’t have had without COVID-19. We have also been challenged to be creative with using video to communicate and connect with our audiences more than ever before.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking of organising a similar session for their team?
If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking. It is refreshing and eye-opening to be reminded that other organizations experience the same barriers – lack of funds, resources, a supportive environment for creative thinking – and that creativity at its most basic form, is optimism in the face of all that. Creative solutions are in us but are we ready and willing to share them? (We must!)
Read about some of our other workshop sessions:
A big thank you to Amy for your blog and her kind words. Creativity can ‘virtually’ happen anywhere and we are always happy to support a team near or far, just ping us a message to ask for more info firstname.lastname@example.org.