Today’s blog post is from my friend Russ Schoen – a master in creativity. I met Russ at a conference last year and love his thinking. Thought I would have him share some with you today.
Why an excursion will help your team generate 50% more ideas?
(and have more fun doing it!)
Take a few seconds to answer this question. Where do you get your most creative ideas? Is it:
- In the shower?
- While in the car?
- While exercising?
- At the beach?
- In bed?
- At a café?
- Somewhere else?
When we ask participants in our creative thinking training sessions this question, we often get the responses listed above and rarely get this response, “At my desk at work.”
Now, why is that? Because creative thinking thrives when you are in a relaxed state and your senses are exposed to different stimuli. And one of the best creative techniques that you can use when you want to deliberately help your teams generate creative ideas is to use a “recess” and take your team on a Field Trip excursion.
What is a Field Trip Excursion?
A field trip excursion is a creativity technique that helps you and your team generate new ideas by exposing them to different stimuli. To do a field trip, you literally take your team out of the normal work environment and take an actual trip someplace. Perhaps, you might go to a botanical garden, a shopping center, a bakery, bowling or even the zoo. While on your trip, you stay open to everything you see, hear, smell and touch and you capture any ideas that relate to your own challenge. And here is the thing. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as it is some place where your team doesn’t normally go!
So for example, let’s imagine you run a restaurant and are looking for creative ways to improve service. You might take your team on an excursion and go to the zoo. While there, you notice how friendly the person who sold you the ticket was. They asked you how you were and referred to you by name. You suddenly realize you need to hire a professional host for your restaurant. Later on, as you walk by the gorillas, you get a sense that they didn’t have enough space in their area. As you reflect, you realize that your restaurants tables are too close to each other and you need a few smaller tables.
Field Trip Excursions are hugely fun to do and very productive. You can do a field trip excursion for 45 minutes, 2 hours or even a whole day. It’s up to you! And here’s another thing. Research has shown that field trips help teams increase idea production by more than 50%!
So to review, here are the steps to do a field trip excursion:
- Think of the challenge you want your team to get creative ideas on
- Pick a fun place that you normally don’t go to
- Take a “recess” and visit that place in person and notice everything that catches your attention
- Think about your challenge and generate some ideas
- Capture the ideas
The one watchout for when you go on an excursion
How many times have you had a great idea only to forget it? It happens all the time and here’s what the research in creative thinking shows. If you have a great idea and forget to write it down, you most likely will forget the idea. And many people do this on their first excursion. They go on a field trip, have a bunch of ideas and don’t have a system to capture their ideas.
To overcome this, decide ahead of time, how you will capture your ideas. Use a journal, a pad of paper or even smart phone to capture your ideas digitally.
Do this and you and your team will get the most out of your excursions. And now, its time to get you going on your first excursion.
Ready, Set, Go
That is it. You now have a powerful way to help your team leverage their next recess and generate creative ideas on demand. So get going and put this technique to the test. And then if someone asks you, “where do you get your most creative ideas?” you can say, wherever your latest excursion took you!
Thanks Russ for the great idea! I tell my clients all the time to move meetings to a new location; so I love the excursion concept for the purpose of idea generation!
For 12 more ideas to improve creativity, morale, engagement and productivity don’t forget to learn more about the Recess At Work System by clicking here.
Here’s how to connect with Russ: