Being creative means starting small, says Juanita Weaver, a Takoma Park, Maryland, creativity consultant. "Go about it gradually, even if you only change one thing, such as the way you hold a meeting."
Weaver suggests four ideas you can implement to get the creative juices flowing in your meetings:
1. Give your employees five minutes to come up with five careers they'd pursue if they weren't limited by external factors. "This exercise elicits a lot of energy," says Weaver, "and you can take this energy back to your meeting."
2. Have employees take a minute to contemplate an issue, then pick up magazines and tear out any images that appeal to them. Have them relate these images to the issue at hand. "It's about using images to tap into your subconscious," says Weaver.
3. Have everyone pick an object in the room and ask them to write three poems about it: a haiku, a poem as if they knew nothing about the object, and one relating the object to something from their childhood. "This shows that you can look at one thing many ways and find different levels of meaning in it," says Weaver.
4. Pass out name tags, and allow your employees to make up their own names. "Their names could be, for example, Queen of the Nile, Down in the Dumps or Juanita the Great," says Weaver. "It changes the energy and opens the mind up a bit."