Ice breakers are often used as a tool to bring teams together, but they can do so much more. Before your next ideation session, encourage your employees to think creatively with a fun ice breaker to get started. The right ice breaker can help your employees to be more open and confident in their ability to problem-solve. In this article, we will present 6 ice breaker ideas that can warm up the mind and encourage brainstorming!
6 Ice Breaker Ideas to Encourage Brainstorming
No. 1 – Two Truths and a Lie
The ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ ice breaker has been commonly used in business environments for as long as I can remember. Many companies use it to help their employees get to know one another. However, it can have even better results with an established group. In this game, employees will share three statements. Two of them will be true and one will be a lie. With an established group, this ice breaker can really help to encourage the sharing of ideas as the group works together to agree on which is the lie. When employees already know a little bit about each other, they will be more likely to dig deep and get creative about their rationale. As the group debates, they will warm up their minds and be more comfortable sharing ideas.
No. 2 – The Association Game
Association has often been studied as a measure of creativity, but it can also encourage brainstorming and collaboration. In this game, you first give each employee an assigned object (not a physical object—just write it down). Every employee should have the same object or list of objects. Secondly, give the employees two minutes to write down every way to use the object that they can think of. When they are done, have everyone share their lists and discuss what they came up with. This will help them to think more creatively. Since it is silly, this ice breaker will encourage them to be more relaxed about sharing out-of-the-box ideas during the brainstorming session.
No. 3 – The Shared Story
With this game, your employees will learn to think on their feet and will get more comfortable with one another. For this ice breaker, you will encourage your employees to tell a story. The story should have a distinct premise that you will provide. For example, you might say a story about a dog going to the store. In seated order, have the employees each contribute one word to the story until it reaches a conclusion. Since employees will need to think on their feet and work together, it is a great warmup. It almost always has a silly conclusion leaving everyone feeling light-hearted and open.
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No. 4 – The Favourite Animal Game
With this game, your employees will get to think creatively about themselves and others. For this game, you will have each person in the room privately write down their favourite animal on a sticky note and drop it into a hat or box. You select the animals from the hat one by one and the team will take turns guessing who they think it belongs to. It works best if everyone turns to face a different direction, so no one’s face gives the answer away. Allow employees to speculate who the animal belongs to. Write down the guess for each animal and then have the employees reveal their own animal in the end. This fun and light-hearted ice breaker will encourage the sharing of ideas and get those creative juices flowing!
No. 5 – The One-Question Guessing Game
Ice breakers should always encourage employees to think freely and be prepared to explain their rationale. Since brainstorming relies on those traits, this game can be particularly effective. With this ice breaker, you will give each employee a chance to come up with one question that they would ask someone. The goal is to find a question to determine if they are the right fit for a specific scenario. The scenario should be provided by the meeting leader. For example, you might have the group pretending to be hiring the best lion tamer. Employees might ask about a person’s experience—or whether or not they have ever been bitten during a show. Every employee will define their own criteria and justify their reasoning to the group. It’s a fun and simple ice breaker to encourage sharing ideas early.
No. 6 – Multiple Choice Office Trivia
Sometimes it pays to keep brainstorming focused on the business. For this simple ice breaker, you will present a piece of office trivia. For instance, it can be about the problem at hand or just the company. Secondly, provide employees with multiple-choice options and ask them to determine the correct answer by working together. These options can be as silly or serious as you like depending on your goal for the meeting. Simply focus on encouraging collaboration and creative thought!
A little ice breaker can go a long way in setting the tone in preparation for sharing ideas. The best sessions encourage employees to relax and be creative, so find an ice breaker that relates to those traits. Kicking off a brainstorming session with something light-hearted is a great way to boost morale and help everyone to start thinking creatively!