6 Techniques to Foster Creativity

Creativity is elusive. No wonder some folks conjure up creative means of capturing it.

Some advocate getting out of the office. Southern California marketing entrepreneur Charles Davis finds an impromptu trip to an art museum inspiring. “Just the act of walking among great art and feeling the energy of masterworks, oftentimes avant-garde, brings forth ideas,” he says.

Others swear that simply going for a walk—alone or with colleagues—gets their creative juices flowing.

Some resort to other means. “Many a fantastic addition or project was thought up while playing billiards at our pool table. It’s a great social way for people to openly discuss what’s working, what isn’t and [to] vet brainstormed ideas,” says Hugh McIntyre, formerly marketing manager at BoomBox Inc., a New York City marketing and advertising agency.

Sara Daly, president of Waterfalls Day Spa in Middlebury, Vt., says she and her staff don robes, like their clients. “We can relate to each other as we look the same. We are calmer when we speak. Amazing business ideas have come from these sessions.”

Cynthia Flash, at Flash Media Services in Bellevue, Wash., says her team learned some comedy improvisational techniques that emphasize building upon what somebody else has said or done. And Lee-Sean Huang, co-founder and creative director at Foossa, a New York City design and innovation consultancy, says the firm encourages the use of pantomime and role-playing to brainstorm ideas.

“What works [is] food,” says Kelly Eng, director of client development at MKG, a marketing firm with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. “Keep people energized and get them excited to attend.”

Ultimately, what works best depends on a company’s culture. “There are many different ways to do it,” says innovation consultant Leon Segal. “The more the merrier.”

You can develop a work environment that nurtures creativity. Find out how to create a culture of innovation.

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