I’m trying to think of a way to get our whole design team (15-20 designers) together once a month or so to have a creative session that is beyond the scope of our daily lives. Does anyone do anything like this where they work and what do you like and not like? We have done sessions like this in the past but they got a little too work oriented and fizzled out. Even though we do creative work everyday, it still can get a bit tedious so it would great to break the cycle sometimes.
I’ve done a variety of things in past roles.
Monthly Exploration Day. Basically just getting out of the office for the day or an afternoon. usually I’d get us art museum passes, or I’d try to get a private showing at an art gallery, or artist studio. Some days we would hit a retail shopping district, fan out, and then meet back up to talk about the most interesting things we saw. I’d also engage the team to find outlets like this. One time we took a tour of a motorcycle accessory company (now a client of mine, so that worked out), another time we toured a high end performance wheel factory… both were in the region. We also had design students come in a few times and had an open session with them… I guess my advice here is to mix it up. Try white boarding out a bunch of carried options with your team. I bet you can come up with 20 things to do in 30-40 minutes.
Then we had a larger annual offsite. More work focused with a lens on operations and centers of excellence. I’d have everyone bring an example of:
- thing they were most proud of they worked on
- thing they were least proud of that they worked on
- something from one of our competitors they wish they had worked on
Then we would talk about obstacles to doing more of 1 and 3, and what happened that lead to 2. Workflow, assignments, reporting structures. I’d usually invite one of my peers on another team like the CMO, or SVP of engineering… or sometimes a few of the new engineers.
I think mixing it up between the super open “get inspired sessions” and the more tactical operational sessions worked well.
Never where I have worked but I have been jealous of friends when they have told me that people can present their pet projects or something they are working on in their free time.
A bit like a show and tell. Designer A may collect vintage whatevers. Designer B may be learning how to knit and this is where they are in their progress etc. Or Designer C may wittle spoons on their weekends.
Basically getting people to share something creative they do outside of work.
That works very well. At university we used to do several pecha kuchas a year, everyone just gets 2 minutes and has to present something to bring a point across about something they researched or designed. Workshops are great teambuilding activities too but since they are costly, they have to also bring something to the company.
I’ve done something similar, though they can be difficult to keep going. I called them “lunch and learns” … free pizza helped.