I am often asked which type of creativity training would be best: a one day creative thinking event; a two day creativity workshop; or a 3 to 5 day Creativity & Innovation Meeting.
The answer depends, in part, on the nature of the company and the goals of the event. Still, I have led many creativity events in small and large companies, and what follows may be helpful.
3 to 6 Hour Creative Thinking Workshop
One approach to training in creative thinking involves 100-150 people for a relatively short time, one day or less. People who will not attend a longer event will attend this short version, it’s highly cost-effective, and many people can be introduced to creativity and creative thinking quickly.
I have presented 3 to 6 hour creative thinking workshops that were quite successful with executives, managers, and professionals in large and small companies. Although large numbers of people are involved, it is still a workshop, not a lecture, since everyone is immediately organized into groups of six people, the micro-environment of each person is supportive and friendly, and learning occurs through doing, rather than through listening.
I have mixed feelings about these events: it seems too short for the participants to really get the point. Still, it can be a good start toward more creativity and creative thinking in a company.
2 Day Creative Thinking Workshop
Another approach to creativity training is a 2 day creative thinking workshop for 25 to 30 people. The benefits include a longer exposure to creativity and creative thinking, a deeper involvement of each person, enough time for each person to get it right, and the development of ways to apply creative thinking to work. The difficulty with this approach is persuading busy and skeptical people to give up this amount of time. Also, there is sometimes a lack of transfer of the workshop learnings to the work place.
I have led many 2 day creative thinking workshops that worked very well for small and large companies. There was high transfer of the workshop learnings to the work place, and the evaluations by the participants was quite positive.
Still, I have mixed feelings. It takes a lot of time, the cost per person is high, and it is sometimes hard to motivate busy people to stop thinking about the crisis they left back at work.
3 to 5 Day ‘Creativity and Innovation Meeting
A third approach is a 3 to 5 day ‘Creativity and Innovation Meeting,’ the purpose of which is to teach creativity and creative thinking by applying it to solve an important company business or technical problem. Since everyone is going to bang heads together learning to be more creative at work, we might as well tackle an important company problem at the same time.
With this approach, people are motivated to participate and learn advanced creativity procedures so they can solve the important company problem. In addition, the exposure to creative thinking is deep, the involvement of each person is great, and the transfer of the learnings back to the job is very high.
I have led many 3 to 5 day creativity & innovation meetings for large and small companies to solve diverse problems, including identifying new products; raising quality; improving chemical yield; reducing waste; applying world class manufacturing principles; solving mutual problems creatively with special customers; increasing effectiveness of environmental cleanup; developing a new technology; handling manufacturing waste; designing environmentally safe chemical plants; and more.
I consider these creativity & innovation meetings the most effective way to teach advanced creativity procedures and creative thinking at work. And they solve important company problems at the same time. The high quality and creativeness of the solutions always amaze and delight.
And checkout my NEW 2016 book: “CREATIVITY FOR UNCREATIVE PEOPLE: How To Be More Creative Than You Think You Are.”
©2016 by Edward Glassman, Ph.D.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ed Glassman, Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, founded the Program For Team Excellence And Creativity at the university. He led scores of problem-solving creativity meetings and creative thinking workshops-seminars for many large and small companies. He was a ‘Guggenheim Foundation Fellow’ at Stanford University, a ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the ‘Center For Creative Leadership’ in Greensboro, NC, a Visiting Professor at the University Of California at Irvine, and a Visiting Scientist at SRI International in Palo Alto, California.