We have been brainstorming A-LOT around the office lately, and I thought I would seek some help in a good book on the subject – I found that this book “CAFFEINE FOR THE CREATIVE TEAM” by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield a help – but only to a point, and it depends which version you get your hands on, and on how creative your group is…
There are some great creativity boosters in this book (150 exercises to inspire group innovation – according to the cover) but it has been ruined by the “clever” layout and typography which at times makes the book unreadable for some people and in their word’s “…it’s a bit of a mess!”
I first saw this book at local library, then a bookstore, then online in the kindle store – by this point I thought that the universe was trying to tell me something, so I ended up going back to the book store and buying a copy (I did also get the Kindle version thinking that the text clarity issue might be solved – but no).
Yes it does contain many interesting, quirky and team inspiring exercise’s, ranging from simply drawing in pair to creating videos in groups of four – that type of thing. There are individual exercises too – but not many – it’s all about team work.
Usually each exercise has a main goal; for example, create something purposeful out of a turkey carcass – I KNOW!
Each exercise is clearly labelled for the appropriate sized group: two people, three people or four or more, depending and they allow for creative thinking to flow and help teams perform better together.
Because everyone in your group will think differently, doing the exercises will indeed lead to fresh insights, which can be inspiring.
There are also interviews with some of the brightest creative leaders in the industry who have first-hand experience with brainstorming in teams. However I found that these interviews were sometimes more interesting than the exercises they suggest.
We used the book as a group for promotion idea generating, sales idea generating, and I even used it for copywriting idea generation – so we did give it a good shake at doing what it said.
Caffeine for the Creative Team offers a solution to those dry, boring, unproductive brainstorm sessions you might be used to in radio. BUT: Have someone go through the exercise first and possibly re-write it so it can be read by everyone – honestly the ‘design’ is so heavy it almost renders the book unreadable by the less creative types in a group.
But, as far as the book goes to inspire and brainstorm – it works!
What I didn’t know at the time was that this book is a companion one to “Caffeine for the Creative Mind”, which may explain why I felt a bit confused at times reading it.
Overall – a good book if you have never run a brainstorming session – I cannot recommend the Kindle version though – text issues, graphic splits and other problems with it just drove me crazy – the book version was great, but like I said earlier – have someone go through the exercise first – and possibly create a cheat sheet for it for those who can’t absorb design heavy text.