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5 Brainstorming Tips for Creative Teams

A new year is upon us, and with it comes all kinds of incredible possibilities! Have you made a plan for what worship will look like at your church in 2011?

Many churches have discovered the benefits of team worship design but have yet to fully implement it. Ideas generated as a result of group creativity are exponential, and potential bad ideas can become launching pads for creativity.

Are you ready to soar on wings like eagles and make 2011 a year of transformation? A worship design team can make it happen, but first you have to know how to get off the ground…

In our latest book, Taking Flight with Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work, we explore what it means to go from initial formation of a team to thriving creativity on a weekly basis.

Here are 5 brainstorming tips from Chapter 12 on brainstorming (edited down here in bite-sized chunks):

Keep the brainstorming team small

Studies have shown that the most effective brainstorming groups consist of around 4 to 7 people. Any more than that and it’s hard to narrow down ideas and form consensus. Any less and it’s hard to have enough minds focused to generate good ideas.

Even the playing field

The best creative groups find a way to check hierarchical structure at the door. No one wants to look bad in the eyes of their superiors, and brainstorming (from an ego standpoint) can be pretty risky. The “flatter” the team feels organizationally, the better the brainstorming will be.

Keep the group closed

As stated, brainstorming can be risky business that encourages team members to expose their ideas, and themselves, to both praise and honest criticism. In our experience, the best balm for criticism is trust. A closed team – the same exact group of people, meeting together regularly – can build up enough trust and small group intimacy to allow honest critique to thrive without bruising egos too badly.

No bad ideas

It is an oft-stated maxim of group brainstorming that no idea is a bad idea. This nugget of truth applies particularly to the early development stages of a brainstorming session. Although this rule often plays out better in theory than in an actual creative meeting, it is important to allow for “popcorn” creativity. Good brainstorming allows the conversation to flow, even if it seems radically unfocused. A group freedom of thought is essential to new idea formation.

Make it fun

Brainstorming novices may initially find the process of creative worship design intimidating, but will soon learn that there is much fun to be had. New teams discover over time that this level of fun will grow. On the other hand, veteran teams may become tired of the process.

Whether building a new team or responding to potential creative burnout on a veteran team, be intentional about finding ways to inspire. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spice up your environment. Conference/classrooms aren’t the most inspiring places to meet, even though they are commonly used for brainstorming meetings. Use color on the walls, hang posters, and maybe even add a ping-pong or foosball table to the room. Ditch the uncomfortable chairs for sofas, recliners, and beanbags.
  • Play games with a creative bent such as Balderdash, Cranium, Pictionary, etc.  This will exercise team creative muscles in a fun and semi-work related way.
  • Fellowship together in a way the team hasn’t before. Eat dinner/lunch together. Go to the movies. Visit a theme park as a group. Go on a retreat.
  • Change up the brainstorming process by throwing an object (such as a ball) around the room. When the ball is caught, the catcher has to shout out an idea immediately, and then toss the ball to someone else.
If you’re ready to take the leap into the world of collaborative worship design, check out Taking Flight with Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work. It’s like a worship design boot camp in a book!