3 great exercises for creative warm-up

creative warm up exercises

These creative exercises will definitely kickstart the idea generation process

The process of generating ideas has its stages: you can’t just engulf a cup of coffee and start fountaining with innovative concepts! A creative undertaking is essentially a workout for your brain, and every workout needs a warm-up.

We have rounded up our favorite exercises to help you spark your creativity and get you on the idea production floor. These would work especially well if you are working on a concept together with your team – it might be a great intro for some productive brainstorming.

1. Same shape – opposite essence

Simple, but oh so powerful exercise!

Take paper&pen or give them out to your team.

Think of a simple shape – square prism, rectangular, circle. Divide your paper by half and draw your shape on both sides.

Now, think of the objects that have the same shape, but are complete antithesizes of each other! Like sun and moon, or take after our example with the rectangular prism:


creative exercises

Embellish your drawings with accompanying text or additional elements to bring up the opposite essences.

2. Run out your pencil with 30 circles!

30 circles creative exercise

In the case of this doodle exercise, quantity beats quality!

What you’ll need is to print layouts with 30 identical circles, hand them out to your team together with something to write with, and set the time for 3 minutes.

Each participant has to turn as many circles into recognizable objects. Think orange, basketball, clock, moon, etc.

When the time runs out, compare the results. See how many people filled in ten, fifteen, or more than twenty circles? (Typically, most people don’t get all thirty). Now see if the ideas are each other derivatives, like orange-melon-watermelon, or are distinct (sun, a cookie, a billiard ball). Maybe somebody broke the rules and combined several circles into one object, like handcuffs?

Thirty Circles is a great dive-in into your team’s idea generation process. When you are on the path to creating a new concept, it’s often easier to spot a great idea if you have many to choose from.

However, if the majority of your ideas are derivatives of each other (the case of watermelon-melon), you end up having variations of the same theme. But when you combine quantity with diversification – that’s when the magic happens, and you’ve got a pool of sundry concepts to choose from!

3. Assumptions and reversals by Michael Michalko


creative exercises

Some assumptions have such deep roots that we don’t even give them a second thought. Earth is round, cars have four wheels, and restaurants have menus. When was the last time you imagined the world when the latter was false?

Well, creative expert Michael Michalko thinks imagining the world upside down can give your creativity a great boost!

Select a topic and an assumption about it. Reverse the assumption and find a solution to the occurred dilemma.

Here is an example from Michel’s book “Thinkertoys – A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques”:

Let’s take Restaurants as our subject just like in the beginning.

Assumption: Restaurants have menus.

Reverse it: Restaurants have no menus of any kind.

Dilemma: How are people going to know what they can order?

Solution: A restaurant where the chef informs customers on the fresh products he bought that day in the market and asks them to choose the appealing ingredients, and then, creates a dish with those specific items.

Do you use any creative warm-up exercise before taking on a new endeavor?

Shoot us an email with your suggestions ad we’ll happily include them in the round of articles on this matter.

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Iryna Shkira
Iryna Shkira

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