6 tips for creative thinking in the boardroom

Creativity and innovation are important in any business, and can help drive problem solving, productivity, and progress within a company. In a study conducted by IBM, creativity was cited as the most important leadership quality for success by 60% of respondent CEOs. However, at times people fall into old rhythms and become stuck in an ‘it’s worked before, it will work again’ rut making creative thinking difficult to achieve.

Harnessing creativity in the boardroom means rather than take the ‘obvious’ solution, a creative approach opens opportunities for businesses that otherwise would be missed.

To help inspire creativity and innovation before or in your meetings, try a few of these ‘out of the box’ tips.

Stand during meetings

A recently compiled study is touting the benefits of standing during meetings, claiming that it leads to greater creativity and collaboration in groups. Researchers had 30 participants create a university recruitment video, breaking them into smaller teams who went into rooms that either had chairs or did not. Participants wore sensors and were recorded.

After reviewing the sensor data and recordings, researchers found that those in teams who stood experienced greater ‘physiological arousal’ than those in teams that were seated. Furthermore, those standing reported that their teams were less protective of their ideas, which lead to improved communication and better quality videos.

Go for a walk

If you’re already standing, why not consider taking your meeting on the move? Late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, was known for his propensity to conduct meetings on foot and recent research conducted at Stanford University has revealed that he may have been ahead of the curve.

The study found that walking can help boost creativity by opening the free flow of ideas. The experience involved 176 participants who were asked to complete tests that measure creative divergent thinking and convergent thinking whilst walking and sitting. Findings showed that those who walked were considered to be up to 60% more creative.


Whilst staring off into space during a meeting isn’t ideal, daydreaming may actually be beneficial for creative thinking as it gives the brain the chance to wander. This promotes lateral thinking, known to help with problem solving. This is why many people have ‘light bulb moments’ in the bath.

In two studies conducted by the University of Central Lancashire researchers found that daydreaming can boost creativity. The study had volunteers conduct a deliberately boring activity followed by another task that measured creativity. A second set of volunteers were only asked to complete the creative task. Those who completed the boring task first were found to fare better creatively than the second group.

Take a nap

If you want to inspire more creative thinking and productivity before your next meeting, try taking a 30 – 90 minute nap beforehand.

Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at University College London has recently suggested that sleeping in the afternoon can encourage more productivity and creativity on the job. Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Walsh explained that we’re more prone to creative thoughts during periods of relaxation, which allows our brains to make new connections.

Hit the gym

Late last year researchers released a study in which they determined that those who exercised regularly, around four times a week, performed better on cognitive tests than those who did not. Researchers believe this is because exercise trains the brain to become more flexible in finding creative solutions.

Volunteers were given two tasks – an ‘alternative uses test’ in which they were asked to find different ways to use a pen, and a ‘remote associates’ test where they were asked to find a common link between three words. A group consisting of people who exercised regularly were compared to a group of people who didn’t exercise regularly. Unsurprisingly, those who were exercising regularly were significantly more creative in their responses than those who didn’t.

Be organised

Finally, if you want to make your creative ideas actually happen, what you really need is great organisation. Scott Belsky, whose book Making Ideas Happen is all about removing the blocks to creativity, states, “An idea can only become a reality once it is broken down into organized, actionable elements.”

Check out Scott Belsky’s short video on how Creativity x Organisation = Impact or take a look at how BoardPacks could help you.

For the board, having open communication between members, and being able to stay up-to-date on all the relevant information means that they have the security to make a creative decision. Purpose built software is great for providing these fundamental tools for them. This establishes a framework within which board members are able to be more creative and open-minded with their decisions.

at eShare Ltd eShare has posted on & filed under Productivity.