One of the easiest ways to encourage people to think more creatively is to simply take them out of the office. The usual meeting room is usually associated with the usual type of thinking. The workplace is associated with work, not play, and playing with ideas is what is required to come up with fresh ways of looking at an issue.
By going to a different location where your team is unlikely to be interrupted by phone calls, emails or “could I just have a word”s, and a location that doesn’t look like a boring beige boardroom, people’s normal operating mode is thrown a little off guard. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but taking a long walk with someone is a brilliant way to get some oxygen to the brain cells. I used to work for a company whose office was a very beautiful old house in the middle of acres of green parkland. The MD’s preferred meetings were those that happened by taking a stroll in the sunshine with the person concerned. Thinking outside the box was never more appropriate.