This Week's Challenge: 30 Days in 30 Minutes

Looking for a way to rev up your creative team’s collaboration skills? Try the following with one of the challenges I’ve shared over the past three months, such as “Biodegradeable Backyard” or “Tour de Home.” (Or better yet, with one from Creative Workshop.)

Bring together teams of three to four people, and provide them with a challenge that they must solve in 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes are divided up in the following manner:

8 minutes: Each team reaches a goal that is set by the leader.

2 minutes: The leader serves as the client, providing quick feedback to the teams and providing the next milestone.

8 minutes: Each team scrambles to incorporate the feedback and reach the next milestone.

2 minutes: The leader/client gives another round of feedback and sets the final milestone.

8 minutes: Each team incorporates the final feedback and completes the final solution(s) for the challenge.

Last 2 minutes: Each team has 30 seconds to present their solution.

As an example that describes how this process works: I provided a group with a challenge entitled “Storybook Ending,” in which they had 30 minutes to come up with the plot and characters for a children’s book.

Over the first 8 minutes of solving the challenge, they had to create the theme of their book. In the second 8 minutes, they had to move from the theme to a full-blown plot and characters. In the last 8 minutes, they had to create a character study and a moral for their book.

At the end of each 8 minutes, each team was required to show an artifact for each client review, usually in sketch form. Sharing out a solution verbally is not acceptable to “the client.” (When was the last time you walked into a client review and told them about your design idea without some tangible rendering of it?)

In the example above, a team from one of my classes—Donnie Dinch, Meg Doyle, Claire Kohler, and Mark Notermann—brainstormed the high-level concept for a children’s book entitled The Gloomy Galoshes over the course of thirty minutes. After the initial brainstorm, the team fleshed out full storyboards and copy for the book, then worked together collaboratively to illustrate it over the course of three weeks.

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