8 Ways to Get Creative Minds to Work as a Team
While every workplace has unique personalities, some fields are more prone to attracting creative right brained individuals than others. Exhibit and graphic designers fit right into this category. As an exhibit manager, overseeing creative types brings with it a unique set of challenges. If you are working with a group of creative, right brained individuals, use these eight tips for getting all those innovative minds working together harmoniously on the same page.
1. Set the Scene (This may not work for every exhibit design exercise, but if you can, try it out!)
Start by arranging for an environment that naturally fosters collaboration. Request that your exhibit partner get rid of bland, boring cubicles and partitions; instead, have them consider arranging work areas so that the designers can face one another and communicate more freely. Supply interesting, relevant artwork and posters for the walls and consider playing music (if everyone can agree on a playlist). See if there is an adjacent lounge area with couches and a more casual setting where the creative team can take a quick break, socialize and have informal breakout sessions about key aspects of your exhibit.
2. Creative Minds that Brainstorm Together…
Groups that brainstorm exhibit and implementation ideas together tend to bond and become a team more quickly and effectively. However, be sure to make it clear that brainstorming is a cooperative, supportive “anything goes” activity; this isn’t the time to edit themselves or try to “one-up” each other; support, positivity and a free spirit should prevail. Encourage team members to blurt out their wackiest ideas related to the topic or project at hand, and write it down on a whiteboard in the front of the room. Make it fun! A mind-mapping format with drawings can help to generate even more creativity.
3. Provide Positive Reinforcement
As you oversee your creative team, be quick to reward instances of them collaborating well, supporting one another and functioning as a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The strongest exhibit ideas will probably be the ones in which everyone has a contribution. Verbal praise in the moment in front of the group can be an effective reward, serving as an example and motivator for others on the team to step up their willingness to collaborate.
4. Manage – But Don’t Micro-Manage
Creative types usually don’t do very well with rules, so try to keep too many tight constraints to a minimum. That said, they should have appropriate parameters; you should also check in on exhibit projects regularly to make sure your team members are on track, that they have good synergy and a positive, cooperative spirit. Find that ideal balance between managing them, but letting them have enough freedom to be loose and expressive. Always coach and cheerlead; never dictate.
While the suggestions in this article can act as guidelines, each group of creatives is going to be unique. Be open to your own ideas for maximizing collaborative effectiveness as well as theirs. Be liberal and loose in trying new scenarios until you hit the perfect formula for keeping them on the same page.
6. Foster Effective Communication
Even within a group of creative people, communication styles may differ vastly. While some might be more visual in nature, others work best by feel. Some will be more auditory in nature, and others will be a blend of these preferences. There will also be introverts and extraverts within the group. Become aware of the differing communication and expression styles as you oversee the group. Encourage each member to be respectful of the great variety of communication styles and preferences. No style is superior to another, and all should be honored, respected and heard by all group members.
7. Stay Flexible
If the group hits a block or impasse in brainstorming or creativity, be prepared to be flexible in order to get the creative and collaborative juices flowing again. Make sure to have some newsprint and crayons, collaging materials, Etch-a-Sketches or some other unexpected medium on hand. If it’s a nice day, take the brainstorming session outdoors.
8. Encourage Socializing
Lastly, do your best to encourage socialization away from the design project. Designers who genuinely like one another and have bonds besides those of work can be even better team players while working on creative projects in the office. Treat them to an outing like miniature golf, a comedy show or just out to dinner.
Getting creative types to work and collaborate well on exhibits isn’t always easy; however, it is possible, and the benefits can be richly rewarding to your results. Start by being aware of how right brained people operate, and create an environment conducive to their success. Be aware that there are variations in temperament and style within each group. As the exhibit manager, tune into the unique needs of your designers while also being ready to think outside of the box. Foster a flexible atmosphere and great communication using the tips on this list, and get ready for new heights of creativity in your exhibit.