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  • Writer's pictureMatt Arnold

10 Secrets for Better Group Creativity

Here are ten ways you can improve the creative output on you team. These are not a recipe to be followed in order. Simply, ten things you can do to cultivate creativity and improve innovative outcomes for your team. Consider using one or more of these when designing your next creative session or building your team.

  • Playful Ground Rules

  • Warm Up

  • Sharpen the Focus

  • Embrace Diversity

  • Numbers Game

  • Get Physical

  • Do Your Research

  • Positions

  • AVEC

  • Big Easy

Playful Ground Rules

Maximize fun and safety. These aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. Embrace playful rules, especially those that remove hierarchies and promote an ensemble perspective. Make your collaboration sessions a psychologically safe place for team members to contribute. Establish and agree upon the ground rules at the beginning of the process.

Warm Up

Take the time to have a warm up session. Get the creative juices flowing. Examples could be brainstorming the creative uses of a paper clip, designing a new cereal box toy, or a creative ice-breaker.

Sharpen the Focus

Provide a clear statement of the objective, problem, or challenge. Be clear on why this matters to the team or your organization. Clear is kind.

Embrace Diversity

Embrace diversity in your teams. Diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams. Diverse perspectives translate into more creative and innovative output. From lived experiences, to preferences, to work styles embrace and cultivate diversity.

Numbers Game

Get a large number of ideas early. Embrace divergent thinking. You’ll have time to converge later, but cast a wide net to get as many ideas as possible early in your process. Silent and collaborative idea generation can be used to help generate ideas.

Get Physical

Sitting in the same place generates the same results. Change your perspective. Use a different room. Move around a space. Use props and models to help in storytelling and explanations.

Do Your Research

Fill your brain before you storm it. Do your research to get inspired. Spend time doing research on a topic. Look to get inspired in advance of creative sessions or meetings.


Similar to a future presser, write the positioning statement or story of your new product. Explain its benefits, the value proposition, and the customer goal and need that it serves.


Creative thinking is the work of groups, not individuals. Utilizing analogues, visuals, elaboration, and combination are ways to

  • Analogue - leveraging structures and sequences from the past and apply them to today; highlight novel ways that something might be comparable.

  • Visualize - get visual and use pictures to quickly convey a story - name it, draw it, model it.

  • Elaborate - extend the use of a current concept, but in a new context.

  • Combine - combine a variety of concepts; leverage and link new possibilities.

Big Easy

Assessing which product, services, or features to focus on next, the “big easy” is a way to for the team to converge and prioritize. From the folks at Purdue’s Agile Strategy Lab focused on Strategic Doing. Use a 2x2 matrix highlight level of effort and level of impact. Big impact and easy effort = your “big easy.”

Need help with your next complex collaboration?

Spark can help your team navigate complex, adaptive systems. Contact us today and see how we can help you reduce risk and drive growth. Email Spark or call us at 319-322-8737.


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