4 Creative Brain Exercises for Teams in Collaborative Workspaces

We have talked about the importance of squeezing some physical exercise into your working day before – and how this is easier than ever in a coworking space with deskercises, on-site gyms and great locations that are crying out to be explored. However, this time we want to talk about exercise of a different kind; how often do you give your brain a workout? We’ve a number of simple brain exercises that can help you fine-hone your own cognitive skills to boost your productivity, but how can you boost the performance of a collaborative team?  

We thought it might be useful to do a little research into team brainstorming, considering that coworking offices make the perfect collaborative spaces. We have seen time and time again how people working alongside one another in a coworking space naturally form collaborative teams. Coworking brings you into contact with like-minded creative workers who may have lots to offer your business. Great coworking space design supports this; everyone has the option to work privately, but breakout spaces give everyone the opportunity to mingle, and meeting spaces allow collaborators to work as a team.

So, let’s say you’re part of a collaborative team working on a project together; how can you get the creative juices flowing? Check out these simple, enjoyable exercises.

1. Pass it On

Brainstorming in a collaborative group is very different to brainstorming alone. It’s quite easy to take a blank piece of paper and scribble down all the ideas, thoughts and issues that arise when you think of a particular job. It’s easy to be silly, to get things wrong or to get frustrated with the process because after all, nobody else is going to see this; it’s just a brainstorm, right? 

When you have several people brainstorming ideas together, it suddenly takes on more importance; other people are going to see this. Will your ideas affect how they see you? If you go blank, will you look stupid? It isn’t surprising that people are often reluctant to share ideas freely or find it difficult to communicate to a larger number of people. Meet up in the collaborative workspace and try this game to get everyone thinking creatively together, additionally, it can be quite effective to do this using a forwarded email that can be passed around the group.

Collaborative Brainstorming - Pass It On Infographic


2. Devil’s Advocate

We all know those people in the group who are eternally optimistic and don’t anticipate problems; as well as those people who expect the worst at every turn. In a group, you’re likely to get a mixture of these types of people, as well as a majority who are somewhere in the middle. This creative thinking game is ideal for getting a team to have productive conversations in a collaborative space, especially when the members don’t necessarily know one another well. One of the main benefits of this game is that it gives everyone ‘permission’ to be constructively negative and come up with the worst-case scenarios that you can then work as a group to mitigate; and because it’s a creative exercise, it doesn’t bring the group down, or paint anyone as a pessimist. Instead, it fosters creative thinking, problem-solving and good communication.

Collaborative Brainstorming - Devil's Advocate Infographic


3. ‘If I were’

This is a great game to play when solving problems and it works whether you’re face to face in the coworking space or working in collaboration online. Not only does it help get some different perspectives on a problem or issue, it also provides a brief, fun distraction and this can be very valuable in easing any tension that may be building as a result of the obstacle you are facing. When a problem arises, ask yourself how would X solve it; put yourself in the shoes of someone else and look at the problem in a new light. For example, a PR guru wouldn’t call this a problem; they would call it an opportunity for development – what is the opportunity here? Or, a CEO would tell me to go back to the start and examine my planning, maybe we could look again at our initial process.

Collaborative Brainstorming - If I Were Infographic

Sample Questions you can ask:

  • How would a top CEO approach this?
  • What would your mother advise?
  • How would the Prime Minister sort this out?
  • If you had unlimited resources, what would fix this?
  • If Steve Jobs had this problem, what would happen?


4. Who, What, Where, When and Why?

This brain game is a great way of encouraging creative thinking and works best if you’re in a shared workspace. One major obstacle to collaborative work is the reluctance of group members to ask questions. It’s perfectly normal to feel reluctant to contribute to a group discussion; we all worry about how we will come across, or if our ideas will be received well. However, this game helps each member of the group to get past this reluctance. The result can be very insightful as it gives everyone a greater understanding of the project and of one another.

Collaborative Brainstorming - Wh Questions Infographic


Starting the Collaborative Brain Workout

The beauty of collaboration is that it enables a project to benefit from a wide range of different people. Everyone brings their talent, their passion, their experience and their personality to the table, and the team is more than the sum of its parts. These are the most valuable benefits of a collaborative workspace and this is what coworking is all about; the meeting of minds, the to and fro of discussion, learning from one another and finding creative solutions.

Whether you’re looking for a collaborative workspace for a team or a coworking office in London where you can plant your business, we can help. At Areaworks, we go further than just a desk and Wi-Fi by creating spaces for businesses of all kinds to grow. If you’re looking for a workspace in London for rent book a tour, pop in for a coffee and let us show you around.

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