How to Help Your Employees Think Outside of the Box

Creativity plays an important role in business.

According to Northeastern University, by creating a workplace that encourages new ideas, you’re more likely to have some pretty big ideas thrown in your lap from some of your most talented staff.

Creativity also often opens the door to new business opportunities, which can ultimately help your company continue to grow.

The question is: how do you get your employees to get in touch with their creative sides and really think outside the box? Here are a few options to consider.

Hold Regular Brainstorming Sessions

The great thing about business is that you don’t have to try to succeed alone. In fact, the more you involve your employees in the process of coming up with new ideas, the easier it is to achieve business growth. Brainstorming can help with this.

To set up a successful brainstorming session, you first want to define the problem the group is attempting to solve. Next, assign a group facilitator and invite your staff to participate, giving each one an agenda so everyone understands what is expected of them.

During the session itself, ask participants to place their ideas on sticky notes that are then put on a wall at the front of the room. Talk over all of the ideas and then, as a group, choose the top one or ones to try out.

Incorporate a Bit of Fun

Good ideas tend to flow more easily when you’re relaxed and having fun. Therefore, if you can create this sort of environment for your employees, they’re more likely to come up with very creative ideas.

Games are one way to achieve this goal. With that thought in mind, the Design Gym offers these creativity-sparking game options:

  • Ask the group to come up with 100 uses for something and only give them five minutes to do it. This game is beneficial if you’re trying to come up with the next best product or looking for unique ways to market your current products or services.

  • Put random words on sticky notes and have members of the group select two or three notes and come up with some reason why they go together. This exercise not only encourages employees to be creative, but it also reminds them that we’re more alike than we are different, so we should celebrate our diverse groups.

  • Pick an issue and ask the team to share what should always happen and what should never happen in regard to this specific topic. Playing this type of game can help you sort out processes and gain clarity about where potential problems may exist.

Utilize an Idea Management Platform

Today there are online platforms for pretty much anything you want to do in business and idea management is no exception. But what does this type of platform stand to offer?

When you use an idea management platform, you’re able to provide your employees with a place where they can go to submit new ideas, comment on other’s ideas, and collaborate as a team. This can help with a number of processes ranging from those involved in product creation to problem resolution.

Using an idea management platform also encourages your staff to work together as a more cohesive team. It can inspire them to come together to achieve a common goal, a factor that can help foster their creativity even more.


By helping your employees think outside the box, not only does your company benefit, but it is good for your staff too because it teaches them that there are many ways to get where it is you all want to go. In this scenario, everyone wins.