Once in a while, we run into an idea block – similar to a writer’s block – and need a way to get the brain juices flowing. When that happens, we usually give ourselves a break before approaching the problem again.
A break might help increase your productivity, but a creative exercise definitely will help you sharpen your mind and boost your creativity. Here are three fun activities that you can try:
Exercise #1 – 30 Circles Test
Developed by Bob McKim and later used in Tim Brown’s TEDTalk on creativity, the 30 Circles Test is a quick way to get your juices flowing.
How to play?
1. Give each person a pen, pencil or marker and a page with 30 circles (like the one above).
2. Have a timer for 3 minutes ready. When everyone is good to go, start the timer and start drawing!
3. Fill in as many of the circles into recognisable objects – the goal is quantity, not quality.
4. Compare the results: look at how many circles were filled in and how diverse the answers are. Did anyone use the spaces outside the circles or combined two circles to make a picture?
Exercise #2 – The Six Words Story
One of the greatest short stories of all time is written by Ernest Hemingway, when he was challenged to write a story in only six words. He wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”
How to play?
1. This activity can be done solo or in a group. Have pieces of paper and writing materials ready.
2. Think about a story idea and how you can shorten it down to just six words.
3. Use contractions – “I’m”, “they’re”, “don’t” – to help you out.
4. Don’t worry about writing a masterpiece. Just have fun and share your stories with the group when you’re done!
Exercise #3 – The Useless Objects Game
Whose Line Is It Anyway has a segment where Drew Carey would whip out seemingly useless props and have the team come up with imaginative ways to use them.
How to play?
1. Think of ten objects around your office or house. Write them down on a piece of paper.
2. For each object, think of as many different uses as you can. Don’t be afraid to put down uses that seem too big or silly.
3. Soon, you’ll gather enough uses and realise that you’ve been looking at these objects in a whole new light.
1. Have five to ten objects prepared. You can use household items or stuff you can find around the office.
2. Display each object and ask the group to come up with new uses for them.
3. Have a blast listening to ideas – some will be outstandingly brilliant, some just downright absurd – that the group comes up with!
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