Boundaries enhance creativity
I’ve been re-reading Free Play (you can see it over there on the left under Books I’m Reading). In it there’s a chapter on how limits enhance creativity. This was proven to me this week when I worked with a group of people who had to work out how to communicate some significant changes across their organisation.
Drawing on inspiration from two of my other favourite books – Made to Stick and Presentation Zen I got them to hone their core messages, whittling away any extraneous (or noisy) information and then got them to create a presentation with the following guidelines:
– max of 10 minutes to include any questions, discussion and feedback
– they could use ppt or create a presentation using A3 posters, or any other form they liked as long as they stuck to the following rules
– design the presentation on stickies first (ie storyboarding)
– no more than 6 words per slide or poster (ever!)
– no bullet points (no exceptions)
– no graphs or tables
– no fades, spins or other tricky manouvres
The results were amazing. They created and presented engaging and informative and diverse presentations. I think they even surprised themselves. The resulting messages and presentation designs have been posted on an internal social networking site for all to have access to and use.
1. If you believe that people ARE creative, give them the tools to BE creative, then guess what? – they’ll BE CREATIVE.
2. Boundaries matter. So do expectations. It doesn’t hurt to establish and reinforce these.
3. Transitions matter too. It’s useful to have a way of transitioning from the experience back to the real world of work.