Creative Problem Solving for Event Design in 3 Easy Steps!


As you might imagine when working in the arena of live experiences for a living, event professionals run into all sorts of opportunities to Creative Problem Solve.

Stacy Harwood of One West Events and I spoke at the One Conference, here in Calgary to share our expertise on “Creative Problem Solving within the Planner-Designer Relationship” with the great minds and members of local MPI (Meeting Planners International) and ILEA (International Live Events Association).  It was such a fantastic opportunity to show just how powerful a great creative relationship can be.

Here are some take-a-ways from our talk on Creative Problem Solving and how we work together to create exceptional experiences for our clients.

Step One: Information Gathering

  • Identify & Understand the Problem: Creative idea’s come from a clearly stated problem. Don’t wait for one to strike you.
  • Ask thoughtful questions. Why? Why else? Now ask that same question 4 more times.
  • Involve someone else (a variety of perspectives is invaluable).

Step Two: Brainstorm

  • Write down everything. You never know when that fleeting thought from two days ago might come in handy.
  • No idea is stupid. Holding back idea’s only impedes your ability to get to the finish line.
  • Don’t be afraid to express an idea because of how you think your team might interpret it.
  • Set a time limit and go wild. Forcing yourself to come up with as many crazy ideas as you can during a set time can really kick start your creativity. Grab a giant white board or note book and get your brain rolling.
  • Think about what other’s might suggest. What would someone you admire do? What would your competitor do? What would your Grandma do?

Step Three: Evaluate – Iterate – Do It!

  • Ask yourself, does it meet all of your criteria? Use a checklist if need be and fill in any details that might be missing.
  • Love it & leave it. Don’t over think, evaluate if that idea resonates and if it doesn’t move on. If it might, put aside to you can revisit.
  • Pivot. Creativity comes when you change even the smallest attributes of an idea. See where it leads you.
  • Make your decision and go with it. A good event professional takes risk management into great consideration, but a great one knows how to mitigate recovery.

Above all, event partners need to work as a team, each taking ownership of their own specialties. Vendors who are treated like partners (not just suppliers) tend to become invested in the success of the event when and an invested vendor will ultimately lend more value.

The best events are built on teamwork and I am thrilled to have such talented designers, like One West, as part of my team!

Jennifer James is not a lawyer; therefore, any of advice given (in this blog or previously written blogs) is always subjective. It’s important to work with professionals, including lawyers, agents and event planners when working with Corporate Event Entertainment.  You can find Jennifer here.
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