Ever tried an evidence-based experiment to increase team creativity?

Years ago I was lucky, when I got the opportunity to arrange and participate in an evidence-based scientific creativity experiment, for a large danish company, led by Balder and Morten, from Copenhagen Institute Of NeuroCreativity (CINC).

I've created a visual guide presenting the concepts and activities we learned, tools which teams og families can use to create more creative thinking.



The experiment was split into 6 sessions, 4 hours one day a week, for 6 weeks. We where 25 participants, from the IT department, software developers, devops, testers and a few managers.


The purpose was to test if we could increase employee creativity awareness and skills, via insights into how the brain and creativity works.


First, we were introduced to how the brain works, in relation to the creative thinking process, from a neuro chemical, physiological and cognitive perspective.

We used the Double Diamond design process model and different creativity tools to explore and generate 100+ ideas, in each of the five teams participating.

We did different cognitive tests, like remote associates-, alternate uses tests and read several creativity research articles in between sessions and had team creativity assignments with different brainstorm- and pretotyping techniques.

The whole experience, for me, was an enlightening tour into a practical universe of creativity. I've read many great books on creativity, but actually doing it with a few great teams, a very skilled creativity scientist / facilitator and a respected neuro biologist and brain specialist in creativity, really made it much more real and inspiring.

Here are some of the main bullets, from the sessions

  • Why is creativity important?
  • Before you get creative
  • 5 neuro creativity phenomena
  • Priming, remote associations, cognitive inhibition, fixation and incubation
  • Lets play some cognitive games
  • Divergent vs. convergent thinking
  • The creative human
  • The creative idea
  • Constraints and teams
  • The creative director (facilitator)
  • The creativity process: Double Diamond
  • The problem formulation
  • The creative toolbox (with detailed guidelines and timing)
  • Brain walking, Assumption Dumption, Finding the most important challenges, Neuro brainstorm, World cafe, Negative brainstorm, Assumption Reversal, Slice & Dice, Cherry Split, Find the best ideas, Conceptualizing the best ideas.


Based on our before- and after tests, and the solutions from the teams, CINC concluded that the participants had increased their creative ability and awareness, by getting more remote ideas and being able to find more remote alternate uses of random things.

When the experiment ended, 99,9% of the participants where excited and ready to get back to work and boost team creativity, but it wasn't easy to keep up this energy, because culture(s), in large organisations, change very slowly, which can quickly kill any drive and hope for change, especially when you've just been fed the elixir of creative thinking enlightenment.

Learning about creativity is easier than doing and breathing creativity. Enabling the necessary habitat and ideation-, innovation- and social capital cultures, especially in large companies, can take years, just like when adapting to the agile software development paradigm.

All in all, I really got some very valuable insigths into my own creative self and a bit more self-esteem and self-confidence, concerning if I too am a creative human being. Now I know 😉

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