Back in June, a couple of colleagues and I joined some of our peers for a session on creativity, run by Sabre Tooth Panda’s Aran Rees. We had little idea what the session would entail, other than a ‘No Wrong Answers’ quiz, which was intriguing, particularly for researchers who do a large number of qualitative groups and workshops in which we frequently tell participants that there are ‘no wrong answers’. Now the boot was on the other foot. Could Aran really help us to come up with some new ideas?

Working in groups we were given a number of tasks designed to get us thinking creatively, building rapport and gaining confidence in sharing our ideas, no matter how crazy. While I enjoyed working alongside colleagues, it would've been great if we’d been assigned to different groups. That would've been more of a litmus test for using these types of techniques out in the field.

Out of the first task our group name was born: ‘The Juicy Jammy Date Mates’ (a combination of our group’s initials and some rhyming). We then used this to build a fairly off-the-wall brand essence and product before turning all of our creative, ‘no wrong answers’, thinking into something more practical that we could do for our business.

The tasks worked to get everyone talking and sharing ideas and I felt myself, over time, becoming more at ease with the situation and what was being asked of me. This prompted a stark reminder as to what we can demand of participants during groups/workshops and an understanding of why they might struggle to come up with the 'blue sky' thinking clients look for.

The session was good fun and my colleagues and I certainly discussed, post-session, the possibility of using some of the techniques during fieldwork to help participants get their creative juices flowing and more comfortable with sharing their ideas. To help with this it would have been great to hear some thoughts from Aran around the tasks we’d undertaken and how to apply them in a research setting so that we left with a few ideas up our sleeve. All in all though, it was an entertaining session that put us in participants' shoes and got us thinking about how we could do things a little differently to facilitate creative discussions.