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The Right Brain Approach

Left brain thinking is being logical, analytical and data focused. Working with information demands that people kick their left brain thinking into high gear. It is practical, detail-oriented and sequential.

The right brain, on the other hand, offers an equally important strength to any meaning making process – even to any meeting! Your right brain is engaged when you are being playful, creating and acknowledging your feelings and intuition. In meetings, we typically plug in our left-brain logic, which is great – but don’t unplug the right brain! So often, information-driven processes exclude creativity which, in the long run, will squelch the great results of innovate thinking.

Here are a few ideas to add a dash of right-brain creativity into the left brain world:

  • DRAW – we recently felt a complete change in energy (for the positive) during a long and hard strategic planning session when we had participants do some team drawings.  Not only was it a great change of of pace, but we were astounded by how thinking visually helped people better articulate the complexity that they were wrestling with.
  • COLLAGE – borrowing ideas from Jennifer Lee’s Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way.  Get playful yet practical by using multiple forms of art and expression to create plans visually. Her book is a guide to using your right-brain creativity to launch and grow a business. The same concepts can be applied to creating a plan for a community initiative, project or movement.
  • Build it with LEGO®.  Check out the LEGO® concept of Serious Play which is an innovative, experiential process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research that shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization. You can do this on your own, or seek out trained facilitators online.
  • PLAY – Play by Dr. Stuart Brown dedicates a chapter of his book to how playful approaches at work are the key to creativity and innovation. Withholding judgement and “playing around” with information translates into imagining, inventing and dreaming impossible solutions that are focused on joy and fulfillment. This publication makes a fantastic book study to get a team in a play head-space.  There are some great companion videos, too.
  • Use GRAPHIC RECORDING or hire a graphic facilitator. If you are drawn to bring some visual elements into a group process, there are some great written resources such as The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown, Visual Thinking by Nancy Margulies and Christine Valenza or Visual Meetings by David Sibbet. Hiring a professional graphic recorder/facilitator is another way to go.  Do a search in your area.

Figure out ways to tap into your own right-brain (and others) to add some creativity and innovation to meetings.


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