How To…Lead A Late-Afternoon Brainstorm

How To…Lead A Late-Afternoon Brainstorm
Illustrations by Robert Samuel Hanson

Pick an unusual location
The same old conference room down the hall? Boring. The park up the block? Now you’re ideating! “Creativity depends on forcing a change of perspective, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to change the setting,” says Michael Kerr, president of Humor at Work, a workplace culture consultancy.

Stand and deliver
If you must stay in the office, try meeting without chairs. There’s a science to standing, explains Gerald Haman, CEO of the agency SolutionPeople Innovation. “Research shows that when people are standing, there is greater oxygen flow to the brain, which stimulates faster, better, and smarter thinking.”

Liven up the joint
Meetings with no stimulus tend to lose steam quickly. Kick off the session with a humorous video clip or a trivia question, to get everyone laughing, thinking, and talking. Such techniques, according to Haman, “make it easier for meeting participants to interact with each other.”

Get ’em thinking before the meeting
Distribute a list of targeted questions before meeting time, so participants can get a jump on the task at hand. “People will arrive energized by having a head start,” says Haman. Adds Kerr: “It’s a critical way to start the creative process. Participants have already engaged their brains.”

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