WELCOME! I have a question for you: Do you see the importance of meeting with your team for creative breakout sessions on a regular basis? If not, I want you to know that generating new business opportunities and solutions to problems are right in front of you—and easier to bring to light than you may think. To be a business that stays relevant and shapes business trends, I suggest that you turn meeting times (every couple of months) into a collaborative team opportunity. Let creativity flow. Invite a free range of problem solving, innovative ideas, and radical creative thinking.
If you’re feeling stuck and limited on developing breakthrough concepts, regularly dedicate time to open-ended creative thinking sessions to spur on your own development and original ideas. As well, meet in such sessions with your team to unlock a variety of insights and breakthrough concepts that a diverse group of people naturally bring forward. Seek to discover the alternatives, the newfangled, the distinctive.
As you do so, REIMAGINE your business each month as your efforts begin anew. Remember to weave your initial vision and passion for your work into all that you develop. Vision and passion stretch beyond barriers. They are limitless.
New OPPORTUNITIES are everywhere.
Brainstorming together with your team fosters team spirit, along with generating imaginative and collaborative possibilities that unlock unique projects and goals that set you apart from your competition. Such sessions drive opportunity and success, actively moving you forward to your next foothold for business growth.
Teamwork and the INNOVATIVE BRILLIANCE that a team of people can offer is your most valuable resource, yet I would bet that you may not clear time regularly in your schedule to cultivate it. Do you want to come up with groundbreaking ideas?
Remember times past when you met with likeminded people, and how their brainstorming restored excitement and purpose to your own vision. Free-spirited, creative sessions naturally do this when you welcome lively discussion—and it’s a bonus when your team feels united in purpose. And, to feel validated and heard in the workplace adds to a positive culture.
The result of such sessions are a selection of novel, innovative business solutions, ideas, approaches and goals. These are personally and professionally rewarding.
When at a conference, most see breakout sessions for brainstorming ideas as typical and quite important to create and apply. But somehow in the daily time constraints in a business day, you may not see this as critical. I challenge you to reconsider.
Turn Meetings into Opportunities for Innovation and Problem-Solving
I know everyone is busy, but flip some of your monthly meeting times into “innovation think tank” sessions. I suggest you start by doing it once every two months. Initiated with enthusiasm and expectation, these sessions are not a threat or dreaded as one more meeting, but as a window of opportunity that moves individuals, solutions, and ideas “outside the box.”
The “think tank theory” moves teams beyond individual thinking, ultimately uniting thoughts and ideas. Being in a safe environment and being willing to express thoughts “outside the box” is what makes these sessions different from regular meetings where the set agenda must be accomplished in “X” amount of time. It’s invigorating and refreshing.
START by establishing innovative, problem-solving, breakout meeting sessions this way until your “think tank” establishes your own list of priorities for your sessions:
- Create a theme for each session (with one topic or question). (e.g. A problem needing a solution, creative ideas for development, new target audience, how to attract the ideal team). Obviously, a list of themes/topics are unique to your business.
- Approach your sessions with a mindset of not needing to conform, respecting the collective intelligence in the room (or in Zoom.) 🙂
- Think freely and creatively. Build engagement and participation.
- Establish psychological safety with an agreement to be open to others’ ideas by being curious and exploring and allowing freedom in this session to take creative risks together (this is a ‘creative think tank’ session and not a time to make decisions and take actions).
- Feel free to veer off the beaten path. (Question. Imagine. Pioneer.)
- Don’t settle for the usual assumption and response. What hasn’t been thought of?
- Create quiet, comfortable space. Specify the amount of time for the session.
- Move away from standard, predictable, accepted thinking.
- Be a courageous leader willing to step up and be original, different from the norm.
EXAMPLES OF THOUGHTS and QUESTIONS
(to help you create your own)
- Explore the bigger picture of desired outcomes. Enter uncharted territory.
- What is an assumption that may no longer be valid?
- What current business practices are no longer relevant?
- How to uplevel the company “game” to gain internal efficiency and/or progressive branding?
- How is a current problem actually an opportunity to do something different that will set the company apart and ahead of the competition?
- How can you create new options, solutions, products, services to assure the company is innovative, new and different from your biggest competition?
- What are alternatives to meeting what the target audience needs most?
Once again, what I'm inviting you to do today is see the benefit of brainstorming sessions that are intended to stretch your imagination, and welcome more innovation. Invite both in, because I think that's what's most needed in today’s business environment and in strong leaders at every level of the business.
This year, move forward by allowing time for team imaginations to unwind, build on individual insights, and foster innovative mindsets among team members that unleash unexpected opportunities.
Let me know in the comments below how your “out-of-the-box” idea is delivering results!
Defining individual skills and team goals to challenge the norms and stretch imaginations.
Besides decades of diverse business experience, Barbara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Behavior and Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Ryokan College, as well as a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She delights in seeing her clients fully experience their unique business leadership talents as they step up to the next level professionally and personally.