Brainstorm Meeting Energizers

Doing creative exercises prior to brainstorming sessions are critical to get people into a state of “play”. “Play is a state of mind where we feel challenged, focused, creative and alive. To encourage open-ended behavior and flip perspective on a problem it is important to incorporate play.”



Crisis & Object

  • Paired exercise - Team lines up in 2 equal lines facing each other

  • 1st person says a crisis and unrelated object

  • 2nd person says a crisis and unrelated object

  • 1st person uses their object to solve the 2nd person’s crisis

  • 2nd person uses their object to solve the 1st person’s crisis


1st person:  no hot water, wheelbarrow

2nd person:  can’t get baby to sleep, radio


1st person:  let’s put the baby in the wheelbarrow and push it around the yard until he goes to sleep

2nd person:  let’s listen to the radio and find out where there is hot water, so I can take you there


Super Hero & SideKick

  • Everyone writes the name of a superhero that didn’t make it on a piece of paper

  • Pass papers to left for a few minutes

  • Look at the super hero you now have and come up with a side kick for that superhero

Example:  Captain reject & fluffy cat, Mashed potato man & spooner, Storage man & packing peanut, Super Donutman & baker boy, Captain Boxcutter & cardboard man)

*I do this exercise to talk about the ways that we can respond to change. When we get requirements, and then all of a sudden our stakeholders and our clients say something different, and then we just have to go with it.  You can reject change, or you can embrace it. You can see that when you collaborate with a group of people sometimes it's delightfully surprising, and you get to somewhere you wouldn't have been able to get if you had worked by yourself.


Mashup (Object, Object)

  • 2 people say the name of a random object at the same time

  • Then, they figure out what this would be, explore…who would use it, what’s the good in this, why would people like it, etc

Ex: Shoes/umbrella – spent a lot of money on a good pair of shoes you don’t want them to get wet, so why not put umbrellas on shoes

Ex: bowling/bicycle – while the person is bicycling they wipe out to see how many pins they can knock over


Thank You!

Two people engage in a conversation about anything, but have to begin every sentence with the words, “thank you.” This underscores a key idea in improv:  everything your colleagues offer is a gift about which you should feel grateful.  When comedians, or leaders, create an environment that welcomes and values contributions, people are willing to give bolder, more honest comments and take more risks.


Follow the Follower

A group makes a circle; one person stands in the middle, eyes closed.  Everyone else silently chooses one member of the circle to be the leader, then begins to mimic any body movements he or she makes. The person in the middle opens his or her eyes and tries to determine who the leader is.  We use this exercise to reinforce the idea that high-functioning improv ensembles find their leaders by looking for the right person at the right time, not formal titles.


Mr. Know-it-all

  1. A group of 3 or 4 people are chosen to be Mr. Know-it-all.

  2. Someone from the rest of the group asks Mr. Know-it-all a question.

  3. Each person in the Mr. Know-it-all group can only say one word. They take turns until the answer is created (revealed).

Things to keep in mind:
- The answer has to make sense grammatically. The people who are Mr. Know-it-all can’t decide beforehand what their answer will be.

What it’s good for:
- Listening to your teammates and building on each other’s ideas. Creating collaboratively.


Pass the Clap - To get everyone making eye contact and collaborating…

Look into the eyes of the person next to you and without using words, coordinate so that you both clap together. That person then turns to the next person and does the same. Pretty soon, you’ll have a rhythm going and a clap will move quickly around the circle. See how fast you can go without losing rhythm. If you want to add some challenge, create multiple claps moving simultaneously in different directions around the circle.