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Interactive games to open minds, challenge perceptions and entertain.

The following are some of our favourite thinking games for use within our creativity workshops. They are a fantastic way to put general creative skills into action and bring learning to life. They also work wonders for team-building.

All games featured here require practical creative thinking techniques and can be played as part of training and development. Many can also be adapted as a fun way to explore specific challenges.

Need help designing or delivering an awesome creative training session or event? Get in touch.

Picture a Story

Object: Participants will tear out pictures from magazines then 6 will be selected at random. These pictures must then be arranged in any order to tell an interesting story that connects each image.

The Creative Challenge: Finding connections between random images to produce a coherent story takes lots of creative imagination.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; using visual stimuli.

Stick ‘em Up

Object: In teams, the object is to build the tallest tower made from lollipop sticks and blutack.

The Creative Challenge: The competitive element will mean different techniques and various attempts will need to be explored in order to make the better progress. This often means breaking assumptions and finding very creative building methods.

Creativity Lessons: Challenging assumptions; learning from failure; finding alternatives; teamwork.

Do... As...

Object: This game is about reinterpreting familiar subjects by presenting them in a far removed and obscure context. A subject randomly taken from the ‘do’ pile has to be presented in a method randomly taken from the ‘as’ pile. This causes an unexpected clash of context, usually ending in hilarious results.

The Creative Challenge: Presenting a familiar subject in a very unusual way requires a lot of inventiveness, especially when faced with the constraints of working without communication methods normally taken for granted.

Creativity Lessons: Overcoming constraints; making new connections; challenging assumptions; finding alternative ways.

Aliens Have Landed!

Object: Aliens have landed and it’s up to you as a welcoming committee to tell them about life on Earth. Of course aliens do not speak our language!

The Creative Challenge: Participants will need to find alternative ways of communicating a welcome message, whether it be through actions, drawings, use of images etc.

Creativity Lessons: Overcoming constraints; finding alternative ways; teamwork; using visual stimuli.

New & Improved

Object: Participants will be split into 2 groups. Each will pick either a familiar concept or an object at random from separate boxes. They will then be asked to find a partner from the other group in order that a concept is matched with an object. The aim is then to come up with an improved or new concept by exploring inventive connections with the object.

The Creative Challenge: Forcing connections encourages new combinations and ideas that wouldn’t have come about otherwise. This will test inventive powers in a fun way.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; challenging assumptions; finding alternative ways; using visual stimuli.

Eyes and Ears

Object: Pairs sit back to back and one has to draw the object the other is describing from a picture cue card. This requires creative communication, especially as key words relating to the object will be banned!

The Creative Challenge: Drawing an object from just the description requires strong communication skills. Techniques will be honed with each round as participants learn from their previous mistakes.

Creativity Lessons: Overcoming constraints; managing ambiguity; making new connections; learning from failure; finding alternative ways; teamwork.

Is it a Bird, is it a Plane?

Object: Using a box of common objects, individuals will be asked to pick one at random then find inventive uses for it, beyond what it is designed to do. It’s all about quantity over quality and very silly uses are more than welcome!

The Creative Challenge: Extracting features and functions and applying them to new effect is a core creative competency.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; challenging assumptions; finding alternative ways; using visual stimuli.

Mental Blocks

Object: Participants are given a pile of building blocks and other interesting objects and asked to build a concept that isn’t easy to describe in words e.g. what you like most and least about work/school; how to achieve your goals in life; how you would make the world a better place.

The Creative Challenge: Using the power of visual metaphor to explore abstract/complex concepts and engage the brain in a different way.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; overcoming constraints; using visual stimuli.

Re-expression Whispers

Object: A problem statement is whispered to the first person, then in turn, each person has to find a way of re-expressing the problem stated to them. We’ll see how far we diverge from the original statement and what other interesting angles are generated.

The Creative Challenge: If you’re not solving the right challenge, you could be wandering down a misguided path. Re-expression is a simple technique to look at your challenge from multiple angles.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; finding alternative ways; challenging assumptions.

Do Be Daft!

Object: Everyone has to come up with the silliest idea for an open ended challenge provided. This is a game in itself but the real task is to extract positive aspects and useful concepts in order to narrow in on a more practical solution.

The Creative Challenge: Silly ideas often have useful themes and concepts that can act as a springboard to new thoughts and ideas. Learning how to harness these is a very useful creativity skill.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; finding alternatives; challenging assumptions; overcoming constraints.

The Name Game

Object: Each person in turn has to name a celebrity/historical figure/cartoon character etc. in alphabetical order of their name. Next individuals will have to generate ideas to solve an example problem by stepping into the mindset of the character that shares the same initial as their own surname.

The Creative Challenge: Our perceptions can strongly influence how we think. But by allowing ourselves to step into different mindsets, we are able to release more of our creative potential.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; finding alternatives; challenging assumptions; overcoming constraints.

For example, how would Neil Armstrong, Yogi Bear and Charlie Chaplin (and so on) solve your challenge?!

I Did it My Way

Object: We take a selection of commonly known products/services and the challenge is to come up with a brand new invention that achieves the same core function but in a different way.

The Creative Challenge: This involves creative design thinking whereby concepts, themes and functions will need to be extracted then rearranged to generate a different result.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; creative design; finding alternatives; overcoming constraints.

Ideas Poker

Object: In a group, brainstorm ideas for a particular challenge, with each idea written down on a separate index card. You then collect all ideas in a pack and each player is dealt 2 cards. Then similar to the way you’d play Texas Hold Em, you play 3 rounds, each time with a card from the pack being dealt into the middle.

During each round, players have to try and find ways of connecting the ideas or elements of ideas to form a new idea. So as the 3 rounds progress, there become more options for new connections.

Once the 3 rounds are over, you can score the game based on the ‘hands’ people have managed to invent. Each player will describe which idea cards they have used to connect their new idea together. The scoring system is based on poker hands. This rewards the players' ability to make multiple new connections.

Note: Make sure you capture all ideas. Even though you may not get a winning hand through the number of connections, you may still come up with some great ideas in the process.

The Creative Challenge: Being able to create new value by harnessing the multiple attributes and benefits of separate individual ideas. Ideas Poker is a great way of communally combining ideas and harnessing all the brain power from a group that’s working on the same solution

Creativity Lessons: New connections; breaking routine; creative design.

Useless Inventions

Object: Participants will randomly select common objects then be asked to fundamentally change/reverse the obvious functions and benefits in order to produce a reinvention of the object that seems very contradictory to existing logic e.g. phone that doesn’t ring; an inflatable anchor; a book on how to read! They must then find a scenario where their new invention might actually serve a useful purpose.

The Creative Challenge: The challenge is to first reverse the perspective then ask who could benefit from the invention or in what context would it be useful.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; reversing the perspective; creative design; finding alternatives; overcoming constraints.

What if We..?

Object: Here we take a familiar object or concept and take it completely out of whack by asking some radical questions and exploring the potential repercussions and new thought avenues.

The Creative Challenge: Asking ‘What if?’ is key to creative imagination and provokes us out of our established thinking patterns. Participants must be prepared to have an open mind and explore very unexpected and often silly outcomes.

Creativity Lessons: Making new connections; reversing the perspective; creative design; finding alternatives; overcoming constraints.

New Cliche

Object: Participants will be given a selection of cliches, familiar phrases and proverbs and the object is restate them with an unexpected and often humorous twist.

The Creative Challenge: This will force people to break free from the deeply routed associations that cliches bring and also challenge the assumptions on which those associations are based.

Creativity Lessons: Challenging assumptions; breaking routine; reversing the perspective; finding alternatives.

Blind Portraits

Find a partner, grab a piece of paper and a pen and draw each other's face. But wait there's a catch. You are not allowed to look at your paper! Just allow your pencil to freely draw what you see.

You may just be surprised by the result. When we usually draw, we will mostly look at the paper and end up drawing symbolised versions of features because our brain wants to interpret them quickly and let us get on with it. By letting go of what you believe you should be drawing and instead focussing on what you're really seeing, you will be able to physically feel yourself breaking your existing thinking patterns and associations. This is the fundamental key to creativity.

Animals on the Underground

Object: Inspired by the website the object is to join up stations and underground routes to create animal shapes. A very playful activity but will get the brain whirring away looking for new patterns. And we’re not just limited to London; there are all sorts of interesting subway maps out there!

The Creative Challenge: This is all about being able to establish new connections to create something new and break down the obvious patterns we see in front of us.

Creativity Lessons: New connections; finding alternatives; creative design; using visual stimuli.

5 Second Scribbles

This is quick-fire creativity without the time for any judgement or criticism to seep in. It's very simple: everyone has 5 seconds to draw an object or animal that is randomly pulled from a hat. After 5 seconds, hold them up to show the group, then start again with a different word.

One of the biggest barriers to creativity is procrastination and the desire to make something perfect before it sees the light of day. This way, you get permission to just go for it and have fun.

Super-useless Heroes

A fun drawing exercise where you come up with super heroes, the only difference is their super powers are totally useless, pathetic or down right ludicrous.

The purpose is to get used to suspending judgement and loosing up the creative muscle. It's a great warm-up game to get people to realise that we're not always looking for the right answers and to create a lot of fun.

Pigs Might Fly

"And pigs might fly' is the ultimate negative put down. But how might they?!

Think of as many ways you might get a pig to fly as possible. And keep going. You'll be surprised what you come up with once you stretch yourself. the most creative ideas come once the obvious ones have been exhausted. This is an exercise in looking beyond the obvious and stretching yourself, which is entirely what's required in order to become more creative.

Guess What?!

Everyone grabs a piece of paper. The first person writes a phrase on the first page and passes it to the person next to them. They fold the phrase over to hide it, then draw a picture to depict that phrase. They then pass it on to the next person, who interprets what the drawing could be and writes a phrase to describe it. This is once again folded over and passed along. Once everyone has had a go, it's time to reveal the sequence. The results are hilarious.

This acts to demonstrate there are many different ways of viewing and interpreting something and how creative results come through a little ambiguity instead of a rigid understanding.

Back From the Future

Draw what your company will be like 50 years from now. If not your company, something personal to you such as an aspect of your life, such as your morning routine.

Visioning and seeing beyond existing possibilities is important to get unstuck from current norms and preconceptions. This game helps to release the powers of imagination.

Ready to achieve your creative ambition?

Get in touch and let's explore some ideas.

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