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Team creativity and facilitation techniques: expand your toolbox

Are you facilitating creative team processes? Tired of always using the same old tricks? Interested in the wider potential of creative techniques? This session is for you.

For this workshop 10 facilitators have gathered and selected a wide palette of design thinking methods and taught their tools to each other. They will be sharing them with you in four fast-paced rounds: ice breakers tools, team synergy & analysis tools, generating and synthetizing ideas tools and re-energizing tools

Working in a small group led by our facilitators, you'll get to experience an array of techniques and will of course be able to share your own favourites. We'll be putting together a repository of tools you'll be able to explore and use after the session.


Julie Becker
Leonel Alegre
Project manager
University of Évora

Session legacy

The key legacy from this session is this online repository of the different techniques demonstrated in the workshop. All facilitators agreed to share their tricks - and we invite everyone else to add to this document.

Being a very participatory workshop in which participants were divided into several smaller groups, this session is otherwise difficult to summarize. Take a look at the pictures in the Twitter archive below at the bottom of this page + in the general photo album of the conference, on this page (towards the bottom).

One element of surprise was to see that a good 50 people had shown up on on a Saturday morning at 9.00 to take part, which seems to indicate a strong interest - or a need. Perhaps something for a future pre-conference workshop?

Session speakers

Community engagement facilitator
I will be introducing: two ice-breakers, a team analysis technique, and four idea-generation techniques. The ice-breakers come from theatre and dance improv’: participants get to know one another while taking ownership of the space and activating their mind and body. The rest of the activities are a mix of exercises I have garnered in design thinking and project management trainings and literature, as well as exercises I created through my experiences as a community arts and dance practitioner.
Leonel Alegre
Project manager
University of Évora
I'd like to share a technique based on story telling, that is very effective to define the concept and the narrative of an exhibition, for example. Each element of the group starts to do some research about a particular topic (desk research, interviews, observation, etc...). Then, he/she will tell a story to the rest of the group. During the story-telling, the other elements take notes of the ideas that were more relevant to them. These ideas are then organized in clusters to create a conceptual map that will help defining a general concept and a narrative. Benefits: this method allows different perspectives on a particular theme and helps selecting information with emotional value. By telling a story, participants are already creating preliminary narratives that will help generate the final and more structured one. I will also share some tricks to keep energy and creativity high, like the game ninja that activates the body and mind and stimulates interaction between members.
Tools/techniques I'd like to offer (just in very short): • Negative brainstorming - Two groups. The group 1 makes a brainstorming on a question (e.g. “What is a good exhibition?”), while the group 2 makes also a brainstorming on the anti-question (e.g. “What is a horrible exhibition?”) - Benefit : when we brainstorm about a question we usually try to tell smart things. And sometimes it prevents us from being inspired. Thinking negatively sometimes releases languages and we are more creative. • Inspiration memory game - In a first part, each participant comes with 5-6 “home made pictures” or “home selected pictures”. He/she explains why they are inspiring for him/her. In a second part, all these pictures are mixed, one draws two pictures by chance. The showdown of these pictures makes the group inspired. After discussion, another participant draw two other pictures by chance, etc. - Benefit: from inspiring pictures provided by others it produces a collective intelligence because of the confrontation of ideas.
Peter Trevitt Consulting Ltd
United Kingdom
I will bring two great creative activities: Creative skills web - Groups work together to map their own creative skills individually and as a team. Breaking down creativity in five areas: collaboration, persistence, inquisitiveness, discipline and imagination, individuals first rate their own skills in each category to create a 2D ‘spider web’ on the floor, and then discuss their differences with team members and what this says about approaching creativity as a team. Back to back drawing - A kind of visual version of Chinese whispers, this activity explores our powers of imagination and is an excellent way to explore how differently we each visualise things being described to us. Using verbal instructions to create a drawing in two stages, the aim is to recreate a picture as faithfully as possible, with surprising results.
Samuel Lagier, SamSpeaksScience
I will contribute to this session: 1) A couple of games to create a team spirit and a constructive environment from the world of improvised comedy. Creating such a supportive space is essential to harvesting the full potential of a team. Indeed, ideas are too often killed at their embryonic stages out of lack of trust (in self and others) and support. These ideas are encapsulated in the concept of “yes and”, a pillar of improvised comedy, which is essential to co-creation. 2) A few exercises to ready the participants to open their mind, imagination and intuition.
Ines Montalvao
Program Director
Artists with Evidence
Archimedes Exhibitions GmbH
I'll be contributing: a.) „Crazy eight“ - a fast tool for rough and fast vizualization of ideas. Each participant gets a sheet of paper and 40 seconds to draw eight simple versions of our challenge. Afterwards we create a summary, checking the outcome for similarities, special ideas, etc. ... b.) „Newspaper article from the future“ a tool for the creation of highlights and lovely details, that allows to invent without getting lost in too many visual details. The participants play the roles of different types of journalists describing the famous outcome of our task.
Adria C LeBoeuf
Founding Director
The Catalyst
Geneva, Switzerland & Rehovot
I come to the table with fun exercises focused on metaphor and translational thinking. Science can be complex, but it can also be intuitive. I use applied improvisation tools to help teams take on complex material from novel perspectives. I am a practicing biologist (Weizmann Institute), and a trainer for scientific presentation (HEC Lausanne) and an improvisor and playwright (founder and performer at The Catalyst). I have been combining my scientific, facilitation, and storytelling skillsets to co-create science-based entertainment with diverse groups since 2011.
Julie Becker
I'd like to present two very simple but efficient techniques I’ve recently discovered:1/ A way of making collective visions emerge and reach a consensus on what’s important in 30 min, by producing three series of statements (it would be wonderful if / it would be a nightmare if / how can we make sure that…?) + going through a quick fire group prioritization round ; 2/ The Disney method.
Exhibitions and interpretation manager
I'd like to explore ways to get teams comfortable sharing and creating together - so often we self-edit for fear of what others will think. A technique I'd like to explore is the 'Bad Idea Brainstrorm' - everyone has to come up with the worst idea they can think of drawing on everything they know about best practice. Then teams work together to turn the worst ideas into something novel and extraordinary!