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“The ability to be surprised is an important part of being creative. We mustn’t leave it to chance,” says Lidor Wyssocky in his recent article in The Creativity Post.

Unfortunately, the business world does not contain many surprise and delight moments anymore.

These special moments are not only rare and cherished, but also so valuable in the creative process. It’s now known that the element of surprise drives learning, and can also force unexpected connections.

So when planning a brainstorming session, make sure you also plan some surprises!

How to incorporate the element of surprise in brainstorming

Many of the creative exercises we use have elements of surprise built right into them. One of our favourites is the Scavenger Hunt exercise.

After breaking guests into small teams, we send them out to look for and bring back four of the strangest things they can find.

The results are always surprising!

Teams have brought back everything from British tourists to pickles! When you then ask the participants to use their scavenger hunt items to solve a problem, the results are amazing!

Here’s an example:

We were facilitating a brainstorming session for Burger King in Miami. The teams were sent out on a scavenger hunt. One group returned with the hotel’s doorman.

He provided the inspiration for having a morning greeter at Burger King locations to open doors, hand out complimentary newspapers, promote new breakfast sandwiches – and even dish out dog treats to accompanying pets.

This trial campaign, launched across several states, was very well received. And the inspirational doorman was also rewarded handsomely – each group member, unbeknownst to the others, tipped him $20 for a tidy profit!

More techniques for better brainstorming

For more brainstorming tips and techniques, reach out to the Barefoot Brainstorming team today.