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Creative Thinking Course Modules

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The modules in this section provide creative exercises to help your participants understand creativity and how to nurture it.

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A Creative Environment

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about the environment they live or work in.
• To encourage participants to consider the impact the physical environment might have on creativity.
• To consider ways in which space can be made 'creative'.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 60 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about the environment they live or work in.
• To encourage participants to consider the impact the physical environment might have on creativity.
• To consider ways in which space can be made 'creative'.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• Cardboard boxes, coloured card, marker pens. See notes.

Notes:
You will need to provide teams with materials with which to create a model of their ideal office for this exercise. The materials you provide each team should include, but need not be limited to:
• A cardboard box for each team (an old crisp box or similar is ideal).
• Coloured marker pens.
• Coloured paper or card.
• Scissors.
• Glue.
• Sticky tape.

In addition to these basic requirements, consider adding any other materials that might help the teams build imaginative models - for example: Modelling clay, string, tissue paper etc.

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Achieving A Shared Vision

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To identify specific actions that will enable groups to achieve a shared vision.
• To help individuals see how they will contribute to the achievement of a shared vision.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be complete within 45 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 75 minutes to complete the module.

Aims:
• To identify specific actions that will enable groups to achieve a shared vision.
• To help individuals see how they will contribute to the achievement of a shared vision.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with most workshop/courses but is not recommended for use where the group has more than 25 participants (e.g., conferences).

Useful For:
Staff at all levels working in a team. It is particularly well suited to new teams formed for a fixed period to manage/implement a project.

You'll Need:
Plenty of sheets of thin A4 card and a selection of coloured pens (felt tip pens are ideal).

Notes:
This module allows the group to share their ideas on how they intend to work together to achieve a shared vision. The group need to be clear about what their vision is. If this isn’t the case, then you might wish to use the module, ‘Creating a Shared Vision’ to achieve this.

This activity can be used as a stand alone activity or combined with others (for example, 'Creating a Shared Vision' as part of a longer event.

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Brainstorming

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 20 minutes.

Aims:
• To explain the key rules of brainstorming.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explain the key rules of brainstorming.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
You may come across participants who question the use of the word brainstorming, and suggest it is offensive to people who suffer epilepsy. Some may even suggest you should be using the word 'thought showering' or 'word storming' instead.

Of course, it's entirely up to you what words you choose to describe this process but our research indicates that the concern over the word brainstorming is something of an urban myth. Charities representing those who suffer from epilepsy say they have asked people suffering from epilepsy and concluded that the word brainstorming does not cause concern. Indeed, the word bears no relation to what actually happens to someone suffering epilepsy and sufferers in general seem to have been more offended by the fact the question was asked of them.

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Bridge Challenge - Maintaining Momentum

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To consider the importance of momentum when innovating.
• To look at what builds momentum behind a project or idea, and what saps energy from a project or idea.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To consider the importance of momentum when innovating.
• To look at what builds momentum behind a project or idea, and what saps energy from a project or idea.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Managers.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you'll need to be able to split your participants into two teams, each with a different room to work in.

You'll also need to gather a set of 'building materials' for each team.

Typically, we provide each team with the following:
• 20 'pick-up' sticks.
• 3 pairs of scissors.
• 4 rulers.
• 6 sheets of A3 card (or 12 sheets of A4 card).
• A ball of string.
• A roll of sticky tape.

You can vary the materials you provide in any way you wish - the important thing is that each team must have exactly the same materials to work with (including the same number of pairs of scissors etc). You'll also need a toy car for each team (each should be the same size and weight). Choose a car that is 'Dinky' sized, rather than 'Matchbox' sized. (More mature UK readers will know what we mean!) For those of you who don't, we mean a car that is not too small - aim for something about six or seven inches long and weighing about 1lb (500 gram). We want this exercise to be challenging.

Notes:
This exercise can be used with very large groups (20 or more participants), but you'll need to establish more than two teams. Establish a number of small teams with four or five participants in them, and then some very large teams with perhaps a dozen participants in them.

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Building Determination

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To demonstrate the importance of determination in building resilience.
• To identify what determination is and where it comes from.
• To list some of the key factors that help make people more determined.
• To identify ways to become more determined.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 30 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 60 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To demonstrate the importance of determination in building resilience.
• To identify what determination is and where it comes from.
• To list some of the key factors that help make people more determined.
• To identify ways to become more determined.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff and managers at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

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Changing Partners - Feelings Towards Change

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 35 minutes.

Aims:
• To recognise the impact of imposed change on people.
• To remind participants how easy it is for progress to be lost and for things to slip back to the way they were before.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 20 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 35 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To recognise the impact of imposed change on people.
• To remind participants how easy it is for progress to be lost and for things to slip back to the way they were before.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of almost any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
You may want to read the article ‘When Change Really Hurts’ by Sheila Williams, which is available in Trainers’ Library. This provides background information about the change curve, which you may want to reference in your discussion.

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Creating A Shared Vision

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 120 minutes.

Aims:
• To agree what success looks like for everyone.
• To establish effective working relationships within groups or teams.
• To create a vision statement for the team.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be complete within 90 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 120 minutes to complete the module.

Aims:
• To agree what success looks like for everyone.
• To establish effective working relationships within groups or teams.
• To create a vision statement for the team.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with most workshop/courses but is not recommended for use where the group has more than 25 participants (e.g., conferences).

Useful For:
Staff at all levels working in a team. It is particularly well suited to new teams formed for a fixed period to manage/implement a project.

You'll Need:
• Plenty of post-it notes and flipchart paper.
• A selection of craft materials such as paints, brushes, glue, magazines, pieces of material. (You may prefer to restrict the materials available to coloured pens and paper, depending on the make up of the group you are working with.)

Notes:
This module allows the group to share ideas about what is important to them and to agree some communal aim, values and aspirations. As a result of this exercise the whole team will participate in the creation of a shared vision.

This activity can be used as a stand-alone activity or combined with others to form a longer event. The module Achieving a Shared Vision naturally leads on from this module.

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Creative Problem Solving Process

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To explore the process of creative problem solving.
• To explain the role of idea generation and other creative thinking techniques.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explore the process of creative problem solving.
• To explain the role of idea generation and other creative thinking techniques.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This is less participative than most modules, and is best used as an introduction to participative problem solving exercises where for example, new idea generation techniques are introduced. Trainers' Library contains practical modules introducing techniques for generating, exploring and evaluating ideas.

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Creative Thinking - Perceptions

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To explore personal experiences of applying creativity.
• To introduce some of the barriers to creativity.
• To gain an understanding of how creative participants currently feel.
• To examine typical responses to creative behaviour.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explore personal experiences of applying creativity.
• To introduce some of the barriers to creativity.
• To gain an understanding of how creative participants currently feel.
• To examine typical responses to creative behaviour.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A piece of string that is approximately 4 metres in length.
• Post it notes.
• A large piece of paper or whiteboard.

Notes:
For this module you will need to prepare a timeline. This is simply a line on a long piece of paper (perhaps several pieces of flipchart paper stuck together) or a whiteboard, with ages spread evenly along it.

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Creativity - A Questionnaire

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to consider existing attitudes towards creativity.
• To encourage participants to consider the culture/environment in which they work, and its impact upon creative thinking.
• To encourage participants to consider the extent to which creative thinking skills exist within their organisation.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 60 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to consider existing attitudes towards creativity.
• To encourage participants to consider the culture/environment in which they work, and its impact upon creative thinking.
• To encourage participants to consider the extent to which creative thinking skills exist within their organisation.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
The questionnaire is not scientific, and the results will only reflect participants' current perceptions of the organisation they work in, which might be very different to other people's. This in itself is useful however. The questionnaire provides participants with a valuable opportunity to think about their own organisation in terms of creative behaviour.

The questionnaire can be sent to participants for completion prior to the training or completed during the training itself. If you decide to give the questionnaire to participants during the training, it is probably best to do this early on, as an introductory session.

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Defining Creativity

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 50 minutes.

Aims:
• To expose any preconceived ideas about what creativity is.
• To explore stereotypes relating to creativity.
• To provide a clear definition of creativity that removes the mysticism associated with the word.
• To consider the relationship between creativity and innovation (optional - this element is also covered in creative thinking - creative problem solving process).

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 50 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To expose any preconceived ideas about what creativity is.
• To explore stereotypes relating to creativity.
• To provide a clear definition of creativity that removes the mysticism associated with the word.
• To consider the relationship between creativity and innovation (optional - this element is also covered in creative thinking - creative problem solving process).

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

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Employee Engagement 4 - Building Engagement

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 40 minutes.

Aims:
• To help participants understand what it feels like to be engaged in their job and the difference it makes to how they feel and the quality of their work.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 40 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 60 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To help participants understand what it feels like to be engaged in their job and the difference it makes to how they feel and the quality of their work.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of between 3 and 16 participants.

Useful For:
Participants with managerial responsibility (or those who will have imminently.)

You'll Need:
• A Bridge Constructor Kit for each team. (These can be purchased from Trainers' Market.)
• A separate area for each team to work in, where they will be out of sight of the other team(s).

Notes:
It is advisable to start this exercise without too much introduction – just hand out the briefings and let them get on with it.

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Evaluating Ideas

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 50 minutes.

Aims:
• To show the importance of properly evaluating ideas and solutions.
• To explain the need for a structured approach to evaluation.
• To introduce one method for evaluating ideas and solutions.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practice evaluating ideas.
• To encourage participants to recognise the need to tweak/adapt ideas and then re-evaluate them.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 50 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To show the importance of properly evaluating ideas and solutions.
• To explain the need for a structured approach to evaluation.
• To introduce one method for evaluating ideas and solutions.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practice evaluating ideas.
• To encourage participants to recognise the need to tweak/adapt ideas and then re-evaluate them.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
You will need to ensure you have familiarised yourself with the 4-stage process explained in the handout, before running this module.

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Fishbone Chart - Problem Solving

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To show participants how to break problems down.
• To give participants an opportunity to practise using a Fishbone Chart.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 45 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 60 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To show participants how to break problems down.
• To give participants an opportunity to practise using a Fishbone Chart.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• Post-it notes and flipchart paper.

Notes:
We suggest that before attending this training module, you ask participants to identify a workplace problem that they need to address. If participants work together you can encourage them to identify an issue they can work on together in the training.

You should pre-prepare a flipchart with the ‘bones’ of a Fishbone Chart for use in the first part of the module.

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Forced Connections - Idea Generation

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Forced Connections' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Forced Connections' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For this exercise, you will need a bag containing a selection of small toys or other random objects. Try to make the selection as varied as possible.

A Fiddle Pack would be ideal for this exercise and can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
Refer to the handout for a worked example of the technique covered by this module.

There are a number of modules that introduce different idea generation techniques. As well as this one, have a look at Reframe, Idea Box and Reversal.

We strongly recommend introducing several different idea generation techniques in any creative thinking or problem solving course/workshop.

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Getting to the Root - Investigating Problems

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To explain one tool for investigating a problem.
• To demonstrate how the causes of a problem can be identified.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explain one tool for investigating a problem.
• To demonstrate how the causes of a problem can be identified.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This module considers how problems are often expressed as symptoms and the importance of understanding what is causing those symptoms before taking action.

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Half Full? - Optimism and its Importance

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to consider their attitude.
• To encourage discussion around optimistic versus pessimistic outlooks.
• To recognise the impact that attitude has on performance.
• To enable participants to identify personal traits that might be holding them back.
• To encourage leaders to consider how they might deal with negative attitudes in their team.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to consider their attitude.
• To encourage discussion around optimistic versus pessimistic outlooks.
• To recognise the impact that attitude has on performance.
• To enable participants to identify personal traits that might be holding them back.
• To encourage leaders to consider how they might deal with negative attitudes in their team.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This module provides an excellent opportunity, when working with a wide range of participants, to consider how attitude can impact on performance. Topics where the inclusion of a module looking at optimism/pessimism might be beneficial include:
• Managing change.
• Problem solving and decision making.
• Customer service.
• Selling skills.
• Leading a team.
• Strategic leadership.
• Communication skills.
• Planning and scheduling.

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Hotel Doldrums Part 1 - Where Are We Now?

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 120 minutes.

Aims:
• To build an understanding of the key steps in strategic planning.
• To encourage participants to analyse financial and other data using a SWOT analysis.
• To encourage participants to think about where they are now, before moving on in the next module to consider where they want to be.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 75 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 120 minutes for this module if working with 10-12 participants.

It is strongly recommended that, for maximum impact and best overall use of time, this module is run in conjunction with the other modules from the Hotel Doldrums series.

Aims:
• To build an understanding of the key steps in strategic planning.
• To encourage participants to analyse financial and other data using a SWOT analysis.
• To encourage participants to think about where they are now, before moving on in the next module to consider where they want to be.

Group Size:
An ideal group size for this module is 12, with participants working in 3 teams of 4. If you have more than 15 participants in your group, you may want to consider ‘doubling up’ on some of the briefs with more than one team using the same scenario. This doesn’t detract from the learning; in fact it can be interesting to see how different teams approach the same problem and task.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels including individuals, groups and teams that need to use strategic planning and analysis skills in the workplace.

You'll Need:
Each team will need a hotel data pack (provided) and a syndicate room or area.

Notes:
Hotel Doldrums is a series of modules that are designed to be run in sequence.

Together they form a complete 1.5 day workshop, which can be run as a single workshop, or as three independent sessions, each lasting between 2 and 4 hours. We’ve also suggested other modules you could add to the programme, if you have more time available.

Hotel Doldrums can also be run as a teambuilding game, where teams are left to compete with less facilitator involvement during the exercise, but a thorough review at the end. This takes about 3.5 hours to run.

If you prefer to use the teambuilding version of Hotel Doldrums, please download the trainer’s notes from the teambuilding games section of Trainers’ Library.

This series of modules is set in the context of the hotel industry but requires no specialist knowledge of it.

The modules, when used together, also draw out skills relating to business planning, problem solving, influencing, team working and making presentations.

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Hotel Doldrums Part 2 - Where Do We Want to Be?

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 180 minutes.

Aims:
• To give participants the opportunity to identify and explore options and appraise these.
• For participants to create a 3-5 year outline strategic plan based on the fictional case study they’ve been given.

About

This module follows on from Hotel Doldrums, part 1, and is not designed to be used as a stand-alone module.

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 135 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 180 minutes for this module if working with 10-12 participants.

Aims:
• To give participants the opportunity to identify and explore options and appraise these.
• For participants to create a 3-5 year outline strategic plan based on the fictional case study they’ve been given.

Group Size:
An ideal group size for this module is 12, with participants working in 3 teams of 4. If you have more than 15 participants in your group, you may want to consider ‘doubling up’ on some of the briefs with more than one team using the same scenario. This doesn’t detract from the learning; in fact it can be interesting to see how different teams approach the same problem and task.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels including individuals, groups and teams that need to use strategic planning and analysis skills in the workplace.

You'll Need:
Each team will a hotel data pack (provided) and a syndicate room or area.

Notes:
Hotel Doldrums is a series of modules that are designed to be run in sequence.

Together they form a complete 1.5 day workshop, which can be run as a single workshop, or as three independent sessions, each lasting between 2 and 4 hours. We’ve also suggested other modules you could add to the programme, if you have more time available.

The modules, when used together, also draw out skills relating to business planning, problem solving, influencing, team working and making presentations.

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Hotel Doldrums Part 3 - How Will We Get There?

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 240 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to develop a strategy from the options generated in previous sessions.
• To encourage participants to prepare and give a persuasive presentation outlining their strategy and the work they have done.
• To reflect on the learning from the Hotel Doldrums series of modules.

About

This module follows on from Hotel Doldrums, parts 1 and 2, and is not designed to be used as a stand-alone module.

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 140 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 240 minutes for this module if working with 10-12 participants.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to develop a strategy from the options generated in previous sessions.
• To encourage participants to prepare and give a persuasive presentation outlining their strategy and the work they have done.
• To reflect on the learning from the Hotel Doldrums series of modules.

Group Size:
An ideal group size for this module is 12, with participants working in 3 teams of 4. If you have more than 15 participants in your group, you may want to consider ‘doubling up’ on some of the briefs with more than one team using the same scenario. This doesn’t detract from the learning; in fact it can be interesting to see how different teams approach the same problem and task.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels including individuals, groups and teams that need to use strategic planning and analysis skills in the workplace.

You'll Need:
Each team will a hotel data pack (provided) and a syndicate room or area.

Notes:
Hotel Doldrums is a series of modules that are designed to be run in sequence.

Together they form a complete 1.5 day workshop, which can be run as a single workshop, or as three independent sessions, each lasting between 2 and 4 hours. We’ve also suggested other modules you could add to the programme, if you have more time available.

The modules, when used together, also draw out skills relating to business planning, problem solving, influencing, team working and making presentations.

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Idea Box - Idea Generation

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 40 minutes.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Idea Box' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Idea Box' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
There are a number of modules that introduce different idea generation techniques. As well as this one, have a look at Forced Connections, Reframe and Reversal.

We strongly recommend introducing several different idea generation techniques in any creative thinking or problem solving course/workshop.

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Improve Your Memory

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 40 minutes.

Aims:
• To demonstrate how memory can be improved – using a simple method – in just 10 minutes.
• To practice a method which can be applied to any situation where a person is required to recall lists of items in a specific order.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To demonstrate how memory can be improved – using a simple method – in just 10 minutes.
• To practice a method which can be applied to any situation where a person is required to recall lists of items in a specific order.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This fun activity can be used either as an icebreaker or as a module on a longer 'Concentration and Memory' course. The exercise is intended to encourage participants to experiment with the method using their own examples.

This module should also reassure participants that no one needs to struggle with a poor memory - improvements can be fast and tangible given some new techniques to use and time to practice.

It's a great tool too for encouraging participants to think about how they retain and recall new information and how they'll store information you're going to give them in the rest of the training.

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Magnifying the Problem - Creative Problem Solving

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To explain the dangers of making assumptions about the nature of problems.
• To provide a technique that will help participants look at problems from different perspectives.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practise rephrasing problems in a different way.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explain the dangers of making assumptions about the nature of problems.
• To provide a technique that will help participants look at problems from different perspectives.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practise rephrasing problems in a different way.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This is a useful module to include in Creative Thinking and Creative Problem Solving training. It is best run before any idea generation techniques are introduced.

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One Hump Or Two? - An Introduction to Continuous Improvement

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 50 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide a basic understanding of continuous improvement as a process and management tool.
• To place continuous improvement in context through a participatory exercise.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 50 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide a basic understanding of continuous improvement as a process and management tool.
• To place continuous improvement in context through a participatory exercise.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Old newspapers and sticky tape.

Notes:
You will need a large pile of old newspapers and some reels of sticky tape for this exercise.

You will also need to have made one "standard design" camel from folding or scrunching newspaper and using sticky tape.

This camel should have discernible legs, a head and a hump; but does not have to be a work of art! The participants need to be able to roughly copy it (note - the exercise is about improving upon the original). Finally you need to make a baton from newspaper, which will be used to bat the camel along in the camel races.

You will also require space to set up a track - this can usually be achieved by safely moving tables and chairs to the sides of the room.

You may wish to have a supply of small prizes available for the camel race winners.

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Pitfalls and Trampolines - Call Centres and Telesales

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with call centres and telesales and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making calls successful.

About

Time:
This game can be played in about 30 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion and evaluation, we recommend allowing 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with call centres and telesales and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making calls successful.

Skills and Behaviours Tested:
Telesales and telephone skills, customer service, communication skills, effective questioning, building rapport, creative thinking and problem solving.

Group Size:
In this exercise participants can play individually, although we recommend they play in pairs/small teams.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A counter for every team.
• Dice.
• A 'Pitfalls and Trampolines' game board and a set of Pitfalls cards and Trampoline cards for each game in play.

Complete Game Packs are now available to buy from
Trainers' Market.

Notes:
Pitfalls and Trampolines is a fun board game. It can be used at any point within a training event, but is perhaps most useful as a tool for reviewing key learning points and for sharing knowledge and ideas.

Some of the cards may not be applicable to your participants so, before starting the exercise, review all of the Pitfalls and Trampoline cards and remove any that aren't relevant.

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Pitfalls and Trampolines - Presentation Skills

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with giving presentations and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making presentations successful.

About

Time:
This game can be played in about 30 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion and evaluation, we recommend allowing 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with giving presentations and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making presentations successful.

Skills and Behaviours Tested:
Presentation skills, communication skills, influence and persuasion, planning and preparation, creative thinking and audience engagement.

Group Size:
In this exercise participants can play individually, although we recommend they play in pairs/small teams.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A counter for every team.
• Dice.
• A 'Pitfalls and Trampolines' game board and a set of Pitfalls cards and Trampoline cards for each game in play.

Complete Game Packs are now available to buy from
Trainers' Market.

Notes:
Pitfalls and Trampolines is a fun board game. It can be used at any point within a training event, but is perhaps most useful as a tool for reviewing key learning points and for sharing knowledge and ideas.

Some of the cards may not be applicable to your participants so, before starting the exercise, review all of the Pitfalls and Trampolines cards and remove any that aren’t relevant.

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Pitfalls and Trampolines - Telesales

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with telesales and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making telesales calls successful.

About

Time:
This game can be played in about 30 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion and evaluation, we recommend allowing 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To examine common problems/conundrums associated with telesales and discuss ways of overcoming these.
• To highlight and share best practices and tips for making telesales calls successful.

Skills and Behaviours Tested:
Telesales, communication skills, effective questioning, building rapport, creative thinking and problem solving.

Group Size:
In this exercise participants can play individually, although we recommend they play in pairs/small teams.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A counter for every team.
• Dice.
• A 'Pitfalls and Trampolines' game board and a set of Pitfalls cards and Trampoline cards for each game in play.

Complete Game Packs are now half price in
Trainers' Market, but only while stocks last.

A new version of the team game - Pitfalls and Trampolines - Call Centres and Telesales - is now available in Trainers' Library and Game Packs are coming soon.

Notes:
Pitfalls and Trampolines is a fun board game. It can be used at any point within a training event, but is perhaps most useful as a tool for reviewing key learning points and for sharing knowledge and ideas.

Some of the cards may not be applicable to your participants (for example, if your participants sell to non-business customers). Before starting the exercise, run through the cards and remove any that you don’t want to include.

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Productive Thinking

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 60 minutes.

Aims:
• To explain the difference between reproductive and productive thinking.
• To explain the dangers of relying on reproductive thinking when solving problems.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practise productive thinking.
• To get participants in the right mindset for productive idea generation.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 60 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explain the difference between reproductive and productive thinking.
• To explain the dangers of relying on reproductive thinking when solving problems.
• To provide an opportunity for participants to practise productive thinking.
• To get participants in the right mindset for productive idea generation.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

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Project Planning Part 1 - Introducing a 5-stage Process for Planning a Project

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 155 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide participants with a simple but effective five stage method for planning a project or complex task.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 100 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 155 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To provide participants with a simple but effective five stage method for planning a project or complex task.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of up to 24 participants. Ideally, you'll have an even number of participants so they can work in pairs.

Useful For:
Anyone who needs to set up and/or commission and/or manage projects.

You'll Need:
• Post-it notes.

Notes:
There is nothing particularly complex or difficult about project planning; it simply requires a logical approach. If you are new to the topic, we suggest you take time to read and digest the pre-module reading. You might find it helpful to work through each of the stages yourself, using a project of your own - perhaps planning a course.

Although you will have asked participants to bring the pre-module reading with them, in practice some will forget. It’s a good idea to have spare copies ready in case this happens.

It’s a good idea to print more copies of the handouts than there are participants because these may be needed if someone has a particularly complex project to plan.

We have suggested that you ask participants to work in pairs. However, this module could easily be adapted and used by a complete project team to plan one project.

It is helpful if each pair has a table of their own where they can carry out the practical exercises. If you have a large group you will probably need a breakout room.

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Project Planning Part 2 - Risk Analysis and Contingency

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 80 minutes.

Aims:
• To minimise the likelihood of crises and project failure through a simple risk analysis and contingency planning process.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 60 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 80 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To minimise the likelihood of crises and project failure through a simple risk analysis and contingency planning process.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of up to 24 participants. Ideally, you'll have an even number of participants so they can work in pairs.

Useful For:
Anyone who needs to set up and/or commission and/or manage projects.

You'll Need:
• Post-it notes.

Notes:
This is the second module in the Project Planning series, covering Risk Analysis and Contingency Planning. The first module, Project Planning – Part 1, must be run before this one.

If you are running this module on a different date from the first module it would be sensible to remind participants to bring their completed project plan from the previous session to this one.

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Reframe - Idea Generation

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Reframe' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Reframe' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
Refer to the handout for a worked example of the technique covered by this module.

There are a number of modules that introduce different idea generation techniques. As well as this one, have a look at Forced Connections, Idea Box and Reversal.

We strongly recommend introducing several different idea generation techniques in any creative thinking or problem solving course/workshop.

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Releasing the Creative 'BIRD'

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 45 minutes.

Aims:
• To consider the behaviours adopted by creative people.
• To encourage participants to consider their own use of these behaviours.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 25 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To consider the behaviours adopted by creative people.
• To encourage participants to consider their own use of these behaviours.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of almost any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
The exercise used in this module is designed to provoke thought about the extent to which participants adopt the behaviours of bravery, inquisitiveness, receptiveness and drive in their business and personal lives. It is not intended as a ‘test’ of creativity. It can however, help individuals identify some of their personal barriers to creativity.

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Reversal - Idea Generation

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 40 minutes.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Reversal' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce 'Reversal' as an idea generation technique.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to practise using the technique.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
Refer to the handout for a worked example of the technique covered by this module.

There are a number of modules that introduce different idea generation techniques. As well as this one, have a look at Forced Connections, Reframe and Idea Box.

We strongly recommend introducing several different idea generation techniques in any creative thinking or problem solving course/workshop.

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The Card Factory - Using Vision and Values

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 75 minutes.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about the extent to which staff feel engaged with the organisation they work for.
• To consider who staff feel is responsible for business performance.
• To think about how vision and values are used within the organisation.
• To demonstrate how values can be ingrained in the organisation.
• To consider the benefits of an organisation where staff feel engaged and responsible for the business outcomes.

About

Time:
This exercise will take about 60 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 90 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about the extent to which staff feel engaged with the organisation they work for.
• To consider who staff feel is responsible for business performance.
• To think about how vision and values are used within the organisation.
• To demonstrate how values can be ingrained in the organisation.
• To consider the benefits of an organisation where staff feel engaged and responsible for the business outcomes.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Managers.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you will need a good quantity of greeting card making materials. For example: Glue, Double sided tape or pads, Scissors, Card of various colours and textures, Ribbon of various colours and Gold/silver markers.

You'll need enough materials for each team of 4-6 participants to make one 'template' card and one 'team' card of their own design.

Notes:
This exercise was first used at the 2008 Trainers' Library Conference and has been designed around the five 'passions' that underpin our business. It's an unusually personal module that we've used to share some of the key principles and approaches that we believe have been key to the success of Glasstap. It's been added to Trainers' Library in response to requests from participants who attended the conference.

You can use the five values we've suggested for the exercise to great effect. The exercise can also be easily adapted to your own organisation's vision and values but we do strongly recommend limiting the number of values used in this exercise to 6 or fewer.

If your organisation does not have a clear set of values or principles, you could use an exercise like 'Feeling Cards' to generate discussion around people's values and to identify some possible organistional values for the future.

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Where Did You Get That Hat? - An Exercise in Creativity

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 40 minutes.

Aims:
• To introduce participants to each other in a fun manner.
• To demonstrate how creative ideas can be generated – even in a short space of time.
• To get teams and participants to share resources and work appropriately within a given time limit.

About

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce participants to each other in a fun manner.
• To demonstrate how creative ideas can be generated – even in a short space of time.
• To get teams and participants to share resources and work appropriately within a given time limit.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
To run this exercise you will need to provide a box of resources. These can easily be collected and used again and again. Try to add things to the box that are unusual. The basic resources we suggest are: - Varied topic magazines/colour supplements, sticky tape, scissors, newspapers, ribbon, coloured card, feathers, balloons, scraps of material, coloured markers or felt tip pens. You might also choose to award a few small prizes such as sweets, fruit etc.

Notes:
This fun activity is suitable for very large audiences as well as smaller groups.

The activity is designed to get people working in teams, sharing resources and ideas and working against the clock. It is meant to be a fast and FUN exercise.

The exercise also works well if the participants are staying overnight on a residential course when, as an alternative to a conventional icebreaker, you can use this exercise last thing in the day. Ask all the participants to turn up for dinner wearing their hats – prizes can be awarded over dinner.

We've included some suggested competition categories in the handout but you may wish to add others (particularly if working with a very large group).

The handout refers to a 50 pence spending limit. Customers from outside the UK may wish to change this by downloading and amending the Word version of the handout.

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Whole Brain Thinking

Time:
In total we estimate this exercise will take 55 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide an explanation of left/right brain thinking.
• To explain the importance of 'whole brain thinking'.
• To explain how our development and education may have affected the way we think.

About

Time:
The exercises in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 55 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide an explanation of left/right brain thinking.
• To explain the importance of 'whole brain thinking'.
• To explain how our development and education may have affected the way we think.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This module is based on the work of Roger Sperry and Robert Ornstein who developed the theory of left brain/right brain thinking. Some now feel that the model is flawed and certainly we represent a very simple overview of the idea that different parts of the brain control different types of thinking. (We now know for instance that it's not just about left or right brain but about which part of the brain is used too - cerebal, limbic etc.)

However, this exercise still has merit as a way of showing the importance of all types of thinking to creativity and innovation and that it's not just about being 'wacky'.

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