Encourage Creative Roles

A simple way to get the creative juices flowing and disrupt routine habits at the start of a brainstorming session.

Diana Lillicrap 10.10.19

Tired of the same people always having unchanged perspective and old ideas at every team brainstorming session? Here’s a way to encourage a little creativity and challenge normal roles.

Same-old, same-old

Most meetings start with introductions, right? You go around the table, state your name and title, and everyone quickly puts you in a box. You’re from operations so you must just care about efficiency or you’re from sales so you only care about selling more stuff. Well, we think this is a terrible way to start the creative process. Instead, it’s time to mix it up and give everyone an opportunity to wear a new hat for the day.

Creative titles

Step 1: As session participants enter the room, everyone grabs a table tent and marker. You can simply fold a small notepad sheet of paper in half lengthwise to create these tents.

Step 2: On one side of the table tent write your name and on the opposite side come up with a creative title for the day. It can be something that reflects your personality, like Whiz-Bang Wendy, or something that describes your attitude for the meeting, like Positive Polly. Or maybe something that represents your perspective, like The Company Archivist, or just something fun and creative, like Captain Marvel. Make sure you come up with titles that aren’t too related to your job or to the way people normally see you. Don’t be Accountant Al if you work in accounting. Be something that hints at a part of you that most people don’t always see or might not expect.

Step 3: Go around the room and introduce yourselves with your creative titles. Tell the group why you picked the title you did. What does it say about you and what special talent, ideas, or perspective you bring to the room?

Step 4: Throughout the meeting share ideas that reflect the attitude of your title and encourage others to think about ideas from the perspective of their own unique title. If you are Innovative Ian, push each idea to be more innovative.

Setting the stage with creative titles allows you to safely step out of your normal role and take on a new perspective. It also allows everyone else to see you in a new light, which breaks down old barriers and fosters new thinking—something every brainstorming session can use.

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