Ten ways to overcome a creative slump during brainstorming

Brainstorming which turns from a creative storm, full of energy with a multitude of ideas struck from all directions like lightnings, into a tiresome and sleepy meeting is the greatest nightmare of every moderator. Keeping creativity at a high level is a hard work – everyone who experienced it knows this. Fortunately, there are simple ways to overcome a creative slump in a group, which we often use in Kreatik during creative meetings that can last for hours. Today, we share our tips for an effective brainstorm that might come in handy for every moderator. You can successfully use them also during online meetings.

1. Remove distractions

Ask the brainstorm participants to turn off distracting applications and websites and put their telephones aside. Turn of the TV and radio. You can play lively instrumental music (e.g. electronic music), but not too loud. Create ideal conditions for the group to focus on the problem at hand.

For example, you can use this playlist.

2. Do a warm-up

A creative warm-up stimulates both brain hemispheres and introduces a motion element, which raises the group energy level in just a few minutes. It is worth doing it at the beginning of a session, after a lunch break and at any other moment when we see that the brainstorm participants have lost their power. Use your favourite creative games.

3. Open the window

A stuffy and overheated room is not a good place to work, lack of sunlight does not help either. Make sure the brainstorming is conducted in a bright and well-ventilated room.

4. Fill the glasses!

Not with coffee, not with tea! With water! Dehydrated body does not function well, a headache does not help in creative thinking. Make sure that every brainstorm participant (especially if the brainstorm lasts many hours) has a glass of water.

5. Go for a short walk

Solvitur ambulando. This phrase can be translated as “It is solved by walking.” What is solved? For example, a problem that the group is working on. Walking helps to clear your mind and often induces the so-called eureka moment, that is a sudden flash of genius, a strong flow of inspiration. It helps find an answer that previously refused to come. Also, physical activity (especially one that increases your heart rate) improves concentration and reduces stress.

6. Mix the groups

Rarely is brainstorming effective in a large group. It is better to divide a bigger team into small groups of 3-4 persons. If the teams lose their energy after several hours, it might be a good idea to mix the participants and create new groups.

7. Stand up

Thinking is like singing. It comes off better when you are standing. Encourage the group to stand up from their chairs. We breathe better when we are standing, our brain is better ventilated, and we are less sleepy. This makes ideas come faster to our brain.

8. Use different methods

Classic brainstorming is the simplest to carry out and proves best at short meetings. When it comes to whole-day creative workshops, it might turn out ineffective, as people get bored with it easily. Change the rules during longer sessions and use different methods, e.g. the Six Thinking Hats method or the complaining method. Brainwriting, speed dating brainstorm or crazy 8 (we can teach you all these methods at our workshops) will also come in handy. Prepare the participants for various diagrams to fill in (e.g. starbursting).

9. Introduce an element of competition

Motivate the groups to work by changing brainstorming into a competition. Divide the meeting into 20-minute rounds, grant points for the largest number of generated ideas and prepare small rewards for the winners (e.g. sweets or paper crowns). Elements of play, competition and limited time have a positive influence on the team’s creativity.

10. Inspiration cards

During a brainstorm, you can also reach for auxiliary questions that will help a strayed, digressing group to get back on the right track. Each moderator should have a list of such questions available, making them up on the spot is really not that simple – we have realised that many times. Therefore, we have prepared inspiration cards for every brainstorm moderator, ready to be downloaded and printed. We divided these in two groups: challenges and inspirations. Both are designed to overcome a creative slump and stimulate the brainstorm participants to look at the problem from a different perspective. Download the cards and see how they can make creative work easier!

A creative slump while brainstorming does not have to be insurmountable. Try the above methods and see for yourself how little is needed to overcome a temporary impasse.



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