Every January, Ideas To Go gets the entire company together to spend time reflecting on the prior year’s accomplishments, plan for the following year, and just have fun with a fantastic group of people.
This year, our theme was “Unlocking Creative Potential.” This is something we strive to do (and continue to grow in) for our clients, our Creative Consumers® associates, and ourselves—individually, and as a company.
To help get us in the right mindset, we participated in a half-day excursion at the Mall of America. We broke into teams of people who don’t always work directly together and went forward with the instructions to 1) “DO” something, 2) “BUY” something, and 3) “TRY” something. Not only was it fun (and hilarious), but it really did provide inspiration for how we could unlock our creative potential.
A few examples:
One team visited The LEGO Store and created Minifigures of each other—with the emphasis on finding pieces that represented the qualities they admired. It helped the group see their strengths and remember how they can use those to creatively help others.
My team took a trip through the Mirror Maze. It initially instilled a laugh-worthy fear of losing each other in the maze, but it really made us find fun, creative ways of working together. We also enjoyed a huge adrenaline rush as we found our way out! (Yes, there were kids alongside us that had no trouble, give us adults a break.)
Another team visited the Crayola Experience and played a team color game. In different rounds, they asked each other to pick a Crayola color to answer questions like, “What is the color of elation?” “What color is the 1980s?” They shared the rationale for their selections and pushed to go beyond the obvious—showing how we can all see the world differently.
I could go on and on and talk about the zip line, the old timey photos, the chakra oils, the Cold Room at Canada Goose, and Rock of Ages blacklight miniature golf. But in the end, one of the best parts was listening to people who went “off book” doing or trying something for the fun of it, and then examining how it unlocked their creative potential. That takes creativity—and it was fun to watch!
We went on to use those activities as stimulus as we thought through our entire process—from design, to opportunity area exploration, ideation, convergence and general strategic facilitation. We ran scenarios where everything goes as planned, and not-as-planned—where external factors play a role in nail-biting moments that require getting clients from point A to point B through major obstacles. It enabled us to identify ways to unlock our own creativity and our clients’ as well. It was invigorating, exhilarating, and reminded me so much of why I love this work and the people I work with.
Even though this new year is in full swing, take some time to take an excursion yourself. Whether it’s spending a few hours at a museum, walking through a new part of town, or taking an online class to learn a different skill, new experiences beget fresh thinking. Our entire staff is committed to unlocking our own creative potential in 2020 so we can better serve our clients and make innovative thinking happen each day. I invite you to join in.
Beth Storz is President and Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go. She co-authored the book, "Outsmart Your Instincts: How the Behavioral Innovation™ Approach Drives Your Company Forward." Beth has been a guest on many innovation podcasts and her work has been featured in media outlets such as HuffPost and Fortune. Beth holds a BS in Business Management from Cornell University and a MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and has worked in brand management at some of the premier consumer packaged goods companies—including Unilever, Kraft and Nabisco. Since joining Ideas To Go, Beth has established herself as a leader in the Innovation landscape and designed and facilitated projects for hundreds of companies—from CPG to financial services to pharmaceuticals.