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Best Innovation Activities to Foster Creativity

innovation creativity games

Innovation activities are potent tools to foster creative thinking and team synergy, all wrapped up in fun and excitement. Check out our list 20 must-try innovation and creativity activities to play with your friends, family, and students!

Table of Contents

Why innovation and creativity activities?

Innovation activities are not merely a source of amusement or a break from routine. They’re strategic exercises designed to stimulate creativity, encourage problem-solving, and cultivate a collaborative spirit within teams. When deployed effectively, these activities can catalyze groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions that elevate your business.

Looking for entrepreneurship games? See our list of some of the best entrepreneurship games to play.

Top innovations activities to spark creativity in your team

Embark on a journey of exploration and creativity with some of our favorite innovation activities. Each one serves a unique purpose, from enhancing communication skills to fostering team synergy, all while injecting a dose of fun into the work environment.

1. Products: The Card Game

products card game


Products: The Card Game is a creative odyssey that unleashes your team’s imagination. Pretend you’re in a shark tank and sell your family on your big new idea!

  • How to Play:  Create genius or hilariously horrible products, then pitch your glorious inventions to friends and family. The game includes 180 Features (blue cards) and 70 Products (white cards) for infinite replayability.
  • Benefits: This game sparks innovation and inventiveness by challenging players to create unique and imaginative products. It fosters team synergy, making it perfect for a game night with friends, a class activity with students, an icebreaker to start a business meeting, and more. Includes rules with three unique ways to play, invent, and win.

2. Reverse Charades

Reverse Charades turns the classic game upside down, making teamwork the show’s star. In this entertaining twist, the team acts out a word or phrase while one enthusiastic individual guesses.

  • How to Play: In a twist on the traditional activity, the team acts out a word or phrase while a single person tries to guess it.
  • Benefits: This activity promotes teamwork and allows everyone, even the quieter team members, to shine in the spotlight and express their creative instincts.

See also: 7 Ways to Improve Your Creative Flow as a Business Owner 

3. Word Association

Word Association is the linguistic playground where creativity knows no bounds. Dive into a world of spontaneous connections and quick thinking as players link words in a rapid-fire exchange. It’s not just a game of vocabulary; it’s a mental sprint where wit and imagination reign supreme.

  • How to Play: Start with a random word. Each participant takes turns saying a word associated with the previous one. The activity continues until only one participant remains.
  • Benefits: This activity sharpens mental agility and enhances the ability to communicate succinctly, paving the way for effective collaboration.

4. Improv Hero

invention charades

Improv Hero is where spontaneity takes the spotlight and creativity steals the show. Dive into the world of unscripted hilarity and quick thinking as players become the heroes of their own impromptu stories.

  • How to Play: Split the team into pairs or small groups and assign them a random scenario or prompt. The teams must improvise a scene based on the given scenario.
  • Benefits: This activity encourages quick thinking and teamwork as participants build upon each other’s ideas to deliver an entertaining performance.

5. Quick Fire-Debate

Quick Fire-Debate is the intellectual battleground where opinions clash, and ideas ignite in a rapid-fire exchange of wit and wisdom. Engage in spirited debates on various topics, challenging your team to think on their feet and articulate their perspectives with finesse.

  • How to Play: Select a thought-provoking topic and divide the team into two groups: one supporting the topic and the other opposing it. Engage in a lively 1-minute debate, where participants use their creativity and persuasive skills to make their case.
  • Benefits: This activity sharpens critical thinking skills and boosts confidence as team members express their arguments with creativity and flair.

Looking for more activities with invention education? Check out PBS’s invention education classroom. 

6. Creative Mime

Step into the silent realm of expression with Creative Mime, where imagination takes center stage in a wordless performance. This unique activity invites players to communicate and interpret ideas, scenarios, and emotions through mime.

  • How to Play: Divide the team into pairs. One person in each pair mimics an object or concept without using any words or sounds. The other person tries to guess what the mime represents.
  • Benefits: This activity enhances nonverbal communication and fosters a positive team atmosphere.

7. Twisted Charades

Twisted Charades injects a dose of unpredictability and laughter into the classic game, turning your typical charades night upside down. Brace yourselves for unexpected challenges and hilarious twists

  • How to Play: Similar to traditional charades, participants must convey abstract concepts, emotions, or entire stories through gestures and expressions.
  • Benefits: This activity promotes emotional intelligence development and enhances empathy, strengthening team bonds.

8. Puzzle Bonanza

Puzzle Bonanza is not your average mind-bender; it’s an exhilarating journey into the world of brain-teasing challenges and collaborative problem-solving. Dive into a treasure trove of puzzles, each more intricate than the last, and watch your team unravel the mysteries together.

  • How to Play: Provide teams with a variety of puzzles. The team that finishes first is the winner.
  • Benefits: This activity stimulates out-of-the-box thinking and fosters collaborative problem-solving.

9. Michelangelo

Michelangelo is not just a name from art history; it’s a game that invites you to channel your inner artistic virtuoso. Step into the shoes of the legendary Renaissance master and unleash your creativity on a canvas of challenges.

  • How to Play: Provide teams with sculpting materials. Challenge them to create sculptures based on given themes or prompts.
  • Benefits: This activity allows for the tangible manifestation of creativity and celebrates individuality.

10. What’s in the Box?

whats in the box

What’s in the Box? Isn’t just a guessing game; it’s a suspenseful expedition into the unknown. The excitement builds as players use their senses and wits to decipher the mysterious contents of the box.

  • How to Play: Fill a box with random objects. One participant selects an item from the box and describes how it can be repurposed or used creatively in a different context.
  • Benefits: This activity promotes creative problem-solving and divergent thinking, fostering resourcefulness and adaptability.

There are plenty more invention education activities on MIT Lemelson’s website. 

11. Creative Problem Solving

creative problem solving

How to Do It: Present a challenging problem or scenario to the team and ask them to generate as many creative solutions as possible within a given time.

Benefits: Ignite the spark of innovation as your team collaborates to explore and present inventive solutions, fostering an environment of creative excellence.

See also: Be a Better Business Owner By Boosting Creativity

12. Collaborative Art

How to Do It: Divide the team into small groups and ask them to create a collaborative artwork together.

Benefits: Promote team synergy and cultivate a culture of creative collaboration as each brushstroke contributes to a masterpiece of collective imagination.

13. Scavenger Hunt

How to Do It: Create a list of unique items for teams to find within a designated area. Teams must present the items in the most creative way possible.

Benefits: Spark inspiration and cultivate innovative thinking as teams showcase their finds in imaginative and unexpected ways.

14. Writing Marathon

How to Do It: Set a time limit and challenge team members to write a short story, poem, or other creative work within that timeframe.

Benefits: Strengthen team bonds through storytelling, fostering a shared sense of unity and unlocking the power of narrative creativity.

15. Collaborative Music Jam

How to Do It: Gather musical instruments or use online platforms for virtual collaboration. Allow each team member to contribute to a collaborative musical piece.

Benefits: Celebrate diversity and cultivate an inclusive and creatively harmonious work environment through the symphony of collective creativity.

16. Cooking Challenge

How to Do It: Set up a cooking challenge where teams must create a dish using specific ingredients.

Benefits: Encourage innovative thinking and resourcefulness as teams whip up culinary creations in the spirit of delicious creativity.

17. Design Your Dream Workspace

How to Do It: Ask team members to envision and design their ideal workspace, creating visual representations of their dream work environment.

Benefits: Inspire creative thinking and foster a shared purpose as each team member designs the blueprint for their imaginative work haven.

18. Creative Journaling

How to Do It: Provide each team member with a journal and encourage them to engage in creative journaling.

Benefits: Encourage self-expression and provide a platform for exploring personal thoughts and emotions, fostering a culture of creativity and introspection.

19. Mind Mapping

mind mapping

How to Do It: Choose a central theme or problem and ask teams to create mind maps to explore creative solutions and connections.

Benefits: Promote visual brainstorming and idea generation, fostering a culture of innovation as teams map out pathways to creative solutions.

20. Vision Board

How to Do It: Encourage team members to create vision boards representing their aspirations and goals.

Benefits: Encourage imagination and provide focus and inspiration for future work as team members craft visual representations of their collective dreams and ambitions.

How to pick the best innovation activity (Step-by-step)

Step 1: Understand your team’s dynamic

Before selecting innovation activities, assess your team’s dynamics, preferences, and communication styles. Consider factors such as team size, individual personalities, and the level of familiarity among team members.

Step 2: Define objectives and learning outcomes

Clearly outline the objectives you aim to achieve through innovation activities. Whether it’s enhancing communication, fostering creativity, or improving problem-solving skills, having specific goals will guide your activity selection.

Step 3: Consider time constraints

Take into account the available time for the activity session. Some innovation activities may require more time for setup, explanation, and play. Ensure that the chosen activities fit within the time constraints to maintain engagement.

Step 4: Cater to diverse preferences

Acknowledge the diversity within your team, including different learning styles and preferences. Opt for a mix of innovation activities that cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners to ensure everyone can actively participate.

Step 5: Rotate activities for variety

To prevent monotony, consider rotating innovation activities regularly. Variety helps maintain interest and allows team members to experience different approaches to creativity and collaboration. Keep a repertoire of activities and introduce new ones periodically.

Step 6: Match activities toteam goals

Align the chosen activities with your team’s overall goals and projects. Select activities that mimic or directly relate to the real-world scenario your team is working on. This connection enhances the relevance of the games.

Step 7: Adaptability and scalability

Choose innovative activities easily adapted to different team sizes and settings. This adaptability ensures that the activities remain effective in various contexts, whether you have a small team or are conducting a large-scale team-building event.

See also: Two Big Lessons on Creativity Every Business Should Learn

Step 8: Seek Feedback from team members

Encourage open communication by seeking feedback on past innovation activities. Understand which activities resonated most with team members and why. Use this feedback to refine your selection process and tailor future game choices.

Step 9: Embrace technology

Incorporate technology-based innovation activities for virtual teams or to add a digital element to in-person sessions. Explore virtual collaboration tools, online platforms, and mobile apps that can enhance the gaming experience.

Step 10: Monitor engagement levels

During and after each activity session, assess team members’ engagement levels. Pay attention to energy, enthusiasm, and collaboration. This feedback can guide adjustments to your activities selection for future sessions.

Frequently asked questions

1. What are innovation activities, and why are they important?

Innovation activities are strategic exercises designed to stimulate creativity, encourage problem-solving, and cultivate a collaborative spirit within teams. They go beyond amusement, acting as potent tools to catalyze groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions.

2. What’s the purpose of playing innovation activities?

The primary purpose of playing innovation activities is to foster creative thinking, enhance communication skills, and promote teamwork within a fun and engaging context. These activities serve as strategic exercises to inspire fresh ideas and solutions.

See the recommended community innovation starter kits to build your area into an innovation community from MIT.

3. Are innovation activities only for entertainment, or do they have strategic benefits?

Innovation activities are not merely sources of entertainment; they offer strategic benefits. When deployed effectively, they can lead to the generation of inventive ideas, enhance problem-solving skills, and strengthen collaboration within teams.

4. Can innovation activities be used in entrepreneurship contexts?

Absolutely. Innovation activities are versatile and can be particularly beneficial in entrepreneurship settings. They encourage out-of-the-box thinking, enhance communication, and promote the development of creative solutions—all essential elements in entrepreneurship.

5. What are some examples of innovation activities to spark creativity?

Some examples of innovation activites include “Products: The Card Game,” “Reverse Charades,” “Word Association,” “Improv Hero,” and “Quick Fire-Debate.” Each activity serves a unique purpose, from boosting communication skills to fostering team synergy.

6. How do I play “Products: The Card Game”?

In “Products: The Card Game,” players create genius or hilariously horrible products and pitch their inventions. The game includes 180 Features (blue cards) and 70 Products (white cards) for infinite replayability. The benefits include sparking innovation, inventiveness, and fostering team synergy.

7. What is the objective of “Reverse Charades”?

“Reverse Charades” turns the classic game on its head by making teamwork the star. In this twist, the team acts out a word or phrase while one person guesses. The activitity promotes teamwork and allows everyone, even quieter team members, to shine in the spotlight.

8. How does “Word Association” contribute to creativity?

“Word Association” is a linguistic playground where players link words in a rapid-fire exchange, promoting mental agility and enhancing the ability to communicate succinctly. It stimulates creativity through spontaneous connections and quick thinking.

9. What is the role of “Improv Hero” in team dynamics?

“Improv Hero” puts spontaneity in the spotlight as players become the heroes of their own impromptu stories. The activity encourages quick thinking and teamwork as participants build upon each other’s ideas to deliver entertaining performances.

10. Are there games that promote innovation and creativity?

Games like creative problem-solving, collaborative art, scavenger hunts, writing marathons, collaborative music jams, cooking challenges, designing dream workspaces, creative journaling, mind mapping, and vision boarding are excellent game methods to inspire creativity and innovation.

11. How can these games contribute to team dynamics?

Game activities contribute to team dynamics by promoting collaboration, sparking inspiration, and encouraging innovative thinking. These activities enhance communication, strengthen bonds, and foster a culture of creativity within teams.

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