Have you ever sat through a boring focus group? How about a forced brainstorming session where everyone looks awkwardly at their hands, or where one person monopolizes the conversation?Over the years we’ve made note of what helps and what hinders the natural flow of creativity—and the debate that aids the process.
When it comes to high stakes creative processes that culminate in strategies, messaging campaigns and organizational or community change, we’ve built a process framework that allows participants to prepare and offers a facilitated event that draws out creative thinking in unexpected ways.
INTRODUCING THE CREATIVE ESCAPE ROOM
It's a different approach to pulling creative ideas from a group or solving a challenging problem. And it's pretty much what it sounds like.
We lock the best thinkers, creators, influencers and processors in your industry, community or region in a room together, give them a puzzle to solve, and then guide them together through activities and thinking models to come up with the best ideas and solutions.
We treat Escape Rooms like a recreational activity. No foam core boards. No “feedback” loops. This is truly a collaborative process that energizes and builds bonds within a group and helps to build upon collaborative solutions from the people who are involved and interested in the solution.
BEFORE WE LAUNCH A CREATIVE ESCAPE ROOM EVENT, WE ASK THE FOLLOWING:
What problem do we need to solve, or what solution(s) do we need to find?
Who should/can we involve in this? We usually advise a broad group of stakeholders at all levels. We need a diversity of viewpoints and experiences to really make this work.
How do we involve (or not) the decision-makers without squashing the creative process?
What will success look like?
What elements must be considered? What are the “sacred cows”?
We then progress through challenging activities that loosen up creative muscles while simultaneously building a sense of a common goal. This also helps people open their minds and begin to see things through a new lens.
We structure the event to start with not only norms, but a way to separate our ideas from ourselves—usually with our “Box of Egos” activity.
OK—we’ve just made an event that is fun, high-energy and productive sound technical and boring. That’s where planning and the expertise of our facilitators come in to play.
Working in advance to set all the aforementioned in place, our facilitators bring the energy, expertise in dynamics, and ALL the skittles, caffeine and snacks needed to keep the day moving toward the goal. They keep things fun and energetic, and recognize the elements needed on the fly to keep your “creatives” on track.
Music, humor, challenges and a strategic hand guiding the process are what make the magic happen! (No trust falls though.)
WHAT YOU TAKE AWAY
At the end of a Creative Escape Room event, most groups come to a collective conclusion, with directives, content and a fair amount of proactive thinking around how the solution lives in a real-time environment.
Some groups work to develop a strategy, some work to answer a question. In some cases, we schedule a follow up to review the solution after everyone “sleeps on it.”
The Creative Escape Room process can be applied to numerous scenarios:
Developing a regional brand
Determining and communicating a unique value proposition
Creative problem solving in an organization
Applying design thinking to the future state of an industry or organization
The Creative Escape Room is the best collaborative tool we can use to bring creativity and strategy together, build buy-in and discover, vet and refine team-focused solutions. It’s a way to safely explore the crazy ideas and work to find a way forward through a sea of sameness.
Need a creative reset? Or maybe you're just up for a good challenge. Either way—we can help. Talk to us about facilitating your Creative Escape Room.