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Creative Brainstorming and Fun Games to Boost Innovation - Jennifer Battan - E141

Creative Brainstorming and Fun Games to Boost Innovation - Jennifer Battan - E141

Discover how embracing creative brainstorming and fun games at work boosts creativity, problem-solving and innovation at work.
Jennifer Battan

Creative Brainstorming and Fun Games to Boost Innovation

Workplaces today often stress seriousness and productivity at the cost of creativity and innovation. Yet, embracing a more playful approach at work can lead to better problem-solving, enhanced creativity, and an overall more enjoyable work experience. In this blog post, we explore the insights shared by Jennifer Battan, a seasoned business analyst and chief creativity officer, on the importance of play and creative brainstorming in corporate settings.

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  1. Why Play is Important at Work

  2. Warming Up for Brainstorming

  3. Setting the Stage for Brainstorming

  4. Breaking Out of Corporate Culture

  5. Learning from Other Industries

  6. Techniques and Resources

  7. FAQs

🎭 Why Play is Important at Work

Purpose Behind Play

The adage "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" holds a deeper truth in the corporate world than one might think. As children, play is an integral part of development—through play, children create intricate worlds, establish rules, and unleash their creativity. However, as adults, formal corporate roles and the ever-hovering "mask of seriousness" often stifle this childhood creativity.

Spending more waking hours at work than at home, it's essential for employees to find joy and fulfilment in their work environments. By incorporating elements of play and creativity at work, we not only enrich our daily lives but also pave the way for innovation and creative problem-solving.

Play isn't just about competition; it's about collaboration and exploration.

🖊️ Warming Up for Brainstorming

One practical way to catalyse creativity in meetings or brainstorming sessions is to begin with a warm-up activity. Jen suggests a simple yet effective exercise involving a pen:

  • Participants are broken into small groups, and one member writes out the alphabet on a paper.

  • Each group has two minutes to come up with unique uses for a pen, with each use starting with a different letter of the alphabet.

This activity not only fosters a sense of team synergy but also pushes participants to think outside the conventional frameworks, preparing their minds for divergent thinking.

🎬 Setting the Stage for Brainstorming

For brainstorming to be truly effective, establishing a structured yet open-ended environment is crucial. Jen advises using prompts like "If time and money didn't matter, what would you do?" to transcend typical workplace constraints. This approach not only uncovers the real requirements of a project but also sparks ideas that might seem unachievable under normal circumstances.

Breaking people’s brains a little is part of learning to brainstorm effectively

Timeboxing and Facilitation

Setting clear boundaries and an agenda helps maintain focus and prevents brainstorming sessions from becoming chaotic. It encourages participants to generate and explore ideas without the pressure of immediate feasibility or ROI concerns.

🌟 Breaking Out of Corporate Culture

Breaking the mould of traditional corporate culture involves overcoming ingrained fears and stepping out of comfort zones. By actively challenging the norms of seriousness and embracing a bit of "weirdness,” companies can foster a culture where innovation thrives.

Giving Permission to Be Creative

Creating a safe space for employees to express unusual or bold ideas is vital. Encouraging divergent thinking without immediate judgment or criticism can lead to groundbreaking innovations and solutions.

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🔄 Learning from Other Industries

Benchmarking and Market Analysis

Looking beyond one's own industry can provide new perspectives and innovative solutions. By adopting best practices from different fields, companies can innovate their processes and offerings more effectively.

🛠 Techniques and Resources

The Uncommon League, an organisation co-founded by Jen, offers various resources and training programs for enhancing creativity at work. Additionally, websites like Gamestorming provide numerous activities and games that can help teams think more creatively and work more collaboratively.

Trying New Techniques

Fear of failure or reprimand often holds back innovation. Jen advises trying new methods without always seeking permission—focusing instead on asking for forgiveness if things don’t go as planned.


What is creative brainstorming?

Creative brainstorming involves generating ideas in a free-form manner, often using exercises or games to inspire innovative thinking.

How can play improve work performance?

Integrating play into work routines helps in reducing stress, enhancing problem-solving skills, and fostering a happier and more creative work environment.

Where can I find resources for creative brainstorming?

Websites like Gamestorming and training platforms like The Uncommon League offer numerous resources for creative brainstorming and innovation at work.

In conclusion, while the corporate world often emphasizes seriousness, incorporating elements of play and creativity can significantly enhance innovation and employee satisfaction. By adjusting traditional corporate cultures, encouraging divergent thinking, and learning from other industries, businesses can foster environments where creativity thrives. Remember, it’s not just about allowing fun at work; it’s about making work itself fun.

Disclaimer: This summary was written with the help of AI

Jennifer Battan

Jennifer Battan, the Out of the Box BA, has an energetic passion injecting innovation and creative problem-solving techniques into how BAs do their day to day work. Her passion is helping teams apply the art and science of business analysis techniques with fresh, modern perspectives.  Jen is an internationally recognized conference speaker, educator and thought leader within the business analysis, agile, and creative problem-solving communities. She served on her local IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) Chapter board for more than seven years, led a content development and writing team for the IIBA’s Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge®, and served on the standards committee for the CBAP exam. Jen spends her free time inspiring learners of all ages to utilize diverse approaches in applying creativity to any challenge they face.


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