The Creativity Flash Mob: a new way to spark creativity

Written by Krystyna Gadd on 15 October 2016 in Opinion
Opinion

Krystyna Gadd shares with us how just a few minutes can get great results in creativity.

A picture of the UK skills gap

I love to get creative with trainers and facilitators, so the Creativity Flash Mob is right up my street. It’s simple, quick, effective and can take as little as 10 minutes of your time to generate lots of ideas from your peers.  

I have done it in real life, as well as venturing into the virtual world and both seem to work well. When using it face to face, if you are in an office environment, let’s say stuck with some problem. Warn some colleagues you will be doing a Creativity Flash Mob in 10 minutes or whenever suits.

Once they arrive, arm yourself with a piece of paper and pens and wait for them to give you the ideas, by either using a creativity technique or just responding to the problem you pose. A timer might be useful to let them know the 10 minutes are over. Then all you have to do when they have gone is to evaluate the ideas and see which one fits best! The beauty of this is that no one feels “trapped” because of the time limit and if you do it at your desk whilst standing, they won’t have time to get comfortable.

The Creativity Flash Mob came up in conversation on Twitter last week and the lovely Jayne Harrison liked the sound of it, but suggested running it on Skype or Twitter as a virtual flash mob. Genius!

The first thing to decide was how to try it out; so in typical style I just dived in and invited people to a group messaged conversation on Twitter. I called it “Creativity Flash Mob” and asked people to pose a challenge or question.

Within minutes Dan Caborn from Oldham Council posed a gritty question and we all jumped in, offering suggestions/solutions. I got excited enough to keep engaged, even though it was a Saturday night and I was going to miss Strictly Come Dancing!

Following that we have had several requests for inspiration and the lovely thing is that it has not needed me to administer it. People are responding, some are leaving the chat and others are being invited by those already there. I have discovered that there is a limit of 50 people in a Twitter conversation. That’s ok because you could start as many of these as you like and invite different people for different topics - that way you may be lucky enough that there is always someone around to answer your inspirational need.

Here's a few little pointers that might help you set your own creativity flash mob up:

  • Start a Twitter conversation and give it an appropriate name “Creativity Flash Mob” sort of does what it says on the tin, yours may be specifically to do with leadership, or customer service so think of something descriptive
  • Invite those people who you know are active on Twitter, generous in nature and willing to help others when they can
  • In the conversation give some brief instructions; there doesn't have to be a time limit. Just by the nature of Twitter people will dip in and out: let people know they can come and go as they please
  • On Twitter conversations you only see what is in the conversation from the minute you arrive and do not see what has gone before, so you may need to post the explanation a few times to get people in the swing

I am going to see how this experiment goes now and secretly hoping it needs little or no intervention from me and will report back in a while.

 

About the author

Krystyna Gadd is the Founder of How To Accelerate Learning. You can contact her on krystyna@howtoacceleratelearning.co.uk and on Twitter @KrystynaGadd

 

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