Tuesday, May 6, 2014

11 Reasons Why Every Company Should Have A Creative Thinking Workshop

...At Least Once a Year

It was 2:45 a.m. when I laid my head to the pillow Thursday of last week. In the 15 plus years I've traveled through-out North America, it was one of the most challenging travel days in quite some time. After 3 flight cancellations and 3 delays, I finally arrived at Reagan National from Atlanta by way of Chicago only to be abandoned by the rental car service with yet another hour drive to my hotel.

With less that 5 hours of sleep, I would be on my way to a client site to conduct a full day workshop. Just from logic one would think that the end of this short travel saga would end in pure exhaustion as I returned to Atlanta 24 hours later. And yet, exactly the opposite occurred.

Luckily I was conducting one of my favorite workshops, "Creative & Innovative Thinking - The Next New Skill" (and this says a lot because I genuinely enjoy all of the topics I facilitate). And though I've done it often, this time it had a particular affect and meaning.

What I experienced in the next several hours as I conducted the workshop really surprised me -- so much so it inspired this post. Instead of feeling utterly exhausted, by the end of the day, I felt completely the opposite.  And though I am aware of and market many of the obvious benefits of this topic (it's one of my most requested), I was re-reminded in a unique way of the multiple benefits of this learning experience. I felt compelled to document and share the value of this topic even more!

Upon returning to my office, I wrote down how I was feeling and along with participant feedback  documented the lingering results of the experience. I noted how I and others felt along with the activities that contributed to it...

  • stimulated - using fun tools to draw, conceptualizing to activate imagination
  • energized - interactive activities - releases endorphins and "feel good" hormones 
  • refreshed - good mental work-out
  • inspired - results from some of the exercises that inspired more creativity in me, seeing what others came up with 
  • connected - activities in the creative process creates a bonding experience
  • challenged - revealed areas I could think differently, think better
  • happy - had so much fun, laughed a lot
  • satisfied - helping other people connect with their potential
  • motivated - to produce
  • empowered - feel more capable to contribute
  • hopeful - there are more -- multiple possibilites

This list reflects the 11 reasons (and for sure there's more) why every company should have a creative thinking workshop at least once a year. Would you like for your staff to experience more of these qualities or even have them at all?

Of all the topics I've facilitated over the years, this one provides it's own unique experience and impact. It's memorable and tangible, both inspiring and practical and it's easy to demonstrate return-on-investment. Just ask yourself this question, "How much is a useable idea worth?"

Additionally, there is much talk in our HR community about employee engagement. If that is a concern for you, nurturing a culture of creative and innovative thinking meaningfully engages employees.  To learn more of that connection you'll want to read my recent contribution to ASTD National  - Innovation & Engagement - The Essential Power Couple.

More resources on creativity: 
>  Creativity - The Next New Skill

>  Take a listen to an interview with Billy the Brain on KKZZ - 1400 NPR Done Right - Greater LA on his topic block of creativity. The interview block also included Peter Tork of the The Monkeys!

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