Recently I had the pleasure of taking an Innovation Foundation Workshop with facilitators from the Office of Possibilities. It was a great opportunity to learn more about how creativity and process can cultivate an environment where teams have fun solving problems. Here are 5 takeaways from my experience.
1. Make sure everyone involved in the process agrees to the CORE characteristics of creative/innovative people, and enforce it! It may sound counterintuitive to enforce rules around a creative process. But setting parameters makes it easier for folks to go wild within them. And the CORE characteristics are pretty great.
- Curiosity (be wild!)
- Openness (defer judgment)
- Risk tolerance (strive for quantity and build ideas)
- Energy (be playful!)
2. Use an Empathy Map Canvas to better understand the individuals impacted by your decision-making process. It’s important to do this early and often, or the foundation of your work will not be strong enough to support the rest of the framework. You may even realize that the problem you think you’re solving is not a problem at all; or the wrong problem! Talking to others, with a structured set of questions, can help you more clearly define the issue at hand.
3. Do your best to get both divergent and convergent thinkers in the same room. My style is definitely convergent. I like facilitating divergent thinking, but when it comes down to it, my brain doesn’t readily explore possibilities the way others might.
4. Prototyping is fun! Our facilitators offered five types of prototyping to try: storyboarding, 3D models, fake ads, flow charts, and role playing. Never had I considered doing any of these things in the past. But when I teamed up with a colleague to storyboard an event, it really helped me think about things differently! And seeing the prototypes others produced gave me fresh perspective.
5. I love working with a cross-section of people from the college! We had one student in our workshop, as well as employees from many different departments across campus. It was great to get to know them better and see how their strengths, weaknesses, and experiences contributed to the process.
I highly recommend taking the Innovation Foundations Workshop for personal and professional growth. If you’re interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Sarah Baar – Metadata Associate