People often underestimate their own abilities to be creative, and because of this, they’re afraid or unwilling to stretch their imaginations to look at their lives or work from new and different angles. The discussion questions below can be used in any type of session on creativity, innovation or brainstorming. They can be used to help make any or all of the following points:
- Creativity is not something we learn; it’s something we’ve forgotten but can relearn.
- Creativity is within us all; we must learn to stop judging ourselves and take risks which free our imaginations.
- A willingness to explore creative solutions is a reflection of our desire to effect positive change in ourselves, our teams and organizations.
- It is important that we support and build on ideas from all team members.
- Creativity can become an everyday part of our lives–we just need to look around and see the world in different ways.
- Teams and organizations need to identify those things that stimulate creativity and those that dull it.
Now, here are 10 discussion questions you might want to use in a session you’re facilitating on creativity:
1. Name creative people you know or have heard of–they don’t have to be famous. What are some of the things they’ve done that you consider creative?
2. What are some of the creative things you’ve seen children do? When you’re with them, do they make you more creative?
3. What’s the last creative thing you did? When did you do it? If it’s been a long time, why?
4. Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said “We fail forward to success.” What does she mean by this? Can you think of examples in your life where you “failed forward”?
5. According to Pablo Picasso, “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” What do you think must be destroyed? Is it possible to apply Picasso’s creative philosophy to your workplace?
6. Your manager comes in and says, “We need an answer to our problem of overstocked inventory. See if you can think of a good solution.” Does this approach stimulate or inhibit your creative juices? Why?
7. Creativity can often lead to conflict and instability. Why do you think this is? And why then might you want more creativity in your life or organization?
8. If you were told you’d be given $500 for coming up with the best solution to an organizational problem, do you think you’d be more or less creative? Why?
9. Think of several things you do as part of your regular “routine” (e.g. what you eat, what time you wake up in the morning, when you exercise, the people with whom you socialize at work). Which would be the hardest for you to change? What habits would you change first if you thought it would be easy?
10. When you’re in a group, what type of behaviors help stimulate your creativity? What type of behaviors or comments diminish it?
Material excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the training program Team Creativity.
Need help in this area? Are there things going on in your organization today that would benefit from a creative problem-solving effort? The inspirational case study shared in The Magic of We sets the stage for individuals, teams and departments from throughout the organization to work together on finding solutions.