Recent research into creativity in the events industry (London & Partners in partnership with Micebook.com) reveals that less than half of the professionals in the events industry are creative thinkers. In an industry which demands creativity, imagination and resourcefulness as professionals seek to explore and implement newest ideas in technology, make the most of new trends in geographical location and source inspired venues and activities, the report seems to indicate that the event industry itself needs to allow their professionals time to be creative and come up with the goods!
The creative divide
The thing is that creative thinking, imagination and intuition all fall within the remit of the right side of the brain, with the left side of the brain being the main seat of strategy, rationality, logical and analytical thinking. According to the report’s statistics, just 40% of event professionals feel that they are right-brain thinkers, meaning that it’s only the minority of events professionals who feel appropriately placed to come up with creative ideas, visualise new alternatives or implement risk-taking approaches. What’s more, of the professionals surveyed, less than 33% felt that their actual event organisations encouraged risk-taking.
The creative constraints
As well as some professionals feeling that they are discouraged from coming up with risk-taking innovations, the biggest restriction to creativity comes when limits appear – with financial and time limits being the most common restrictions on creative thinking. Indeed, 53% of event professionals felt that their creativity is curtailed by budget restrictions whilst over 60% felt that they regularly struggled with a lack of time for coming up with the next-best-innovation, this despite the fact that over half of the respondents in the survey (53%) felt under continued pressure to deliver inspired innovation, pioneer new projects and offer originality with their ideas.
So what then does the events industry need to do, to get creative about delivering engaging events to their clients?
Balance work teams and project personnel to ensure that there’s a good mix between those 40% of creative thinkers and 60% logical thinkers. The right combination of innovation and practicality should help to allow holistic plans to emerge, rather than clever but impractical ideas or one dimensional, same-old events.
With 60% struggling with time limits and only 34% of respondents actually feeling they are offered time to think creatively, events companies should really be thinking of ways to give teams time out for discovery, thinking and visualisation, but this doesn’t mean time alone in a darkened room, far from it. Team building physical activities often become a catalyst for idea creation, so a morning of team events and activities, followed by an afternoon of thinking, brain-storming and bringing to shape the big-picture which has emerged can be a great way of spending time with a creative purpose, along with the happy benefits of team-building and allowing individuals to make progress against their personal or professional goals.
When budgets might be immovable, coming up with an inspired event which matches the event brief to the budget can be problematic. In which case, opportunities to build creative thinking alongside problem solving can be invaluable. Giving a team which offers the right mix of creative and practical personnel a little extra time on an activity such as Team Tactics’ London Team Building Treasure Hunts offers a fully interactive, team-building way to help event teams bond together and come up with fun that fits the funding.
Alternatively, offering creative ‘time out’ for idea harvesting on a big picture and ‘no limits’ basis can also be beneficial. Allowing complete creative freedom, without editing or curtailing (at least initially) offers the creative members of team to get on a creative roll. Once the big picture ideas are out there, they can then be considered with the team’s analytical and linear thinkers on hand to iron out the practicalities and identify which ideas can fit within certain constraints. It’s much easier to fit constraints and practicalities around an idea than it is to think of a great idea within a highly limited context!
Taking a multi-sensory creative approach is a good way to stimulate creative ideas. Team Tactics’ Summer on The Thames is a great example of how you could help inspire your team in a multi-sensory way. With the sights and sounds of London’s city river, the full motion exhilaration of speed-boating along the Thames, followed by the aroma and taste of a BBQ in the sun can really get creative appetites flowing.
Finally, the main purpose of any event isn’t just the enjoyment and engagement, it’s about standing out from the crowd – delivering something different, something memorable. By adopting creative approaches to enable events teams to think creatively can inspire them to really deliver on new ideas and improve their perception of their own creative talents too.