Last weekend I had a fantastic brainstorming session with a good friend of mine from the incentive and events industry. It was such a productive couple of days I thought I’d share the secrets of our day with you in the hope to inspire your next creative brainstorming session.

The purpose of this session was to inject some new flare and imagination into each of the elements of an incentive that connect the major activities throughout the trip, including transfers, meetings, drinks receptions, check in and transport.

The agenda for the day was to take these ‘less exciting’, necessary elements of incentives and look at how we can make them more creative to engage guests in excitement and fun throughout their whole trip to Scotland.

For example, we started off with airport transfers and began looking at local features and alternative ways of getting guests from A to B…but I can’t tell you any of our ideas as that would spoil the surprise!

How I see creative incentives…

When you strip an incentive down to the bear minimum, the fundamentals or the ‘ingredients’ are all of a similar nature across the incentive industry (i.e. the elements mentioned above, like transfers and drinks on arrival).

Consider a Michelin Star chef. They take all the ingredients, transform them into the right combination, presented in an exquisite way, delivered in the right environment at the right time.

They ‘wrap the ingredients up’ in a very special way that not only offers exquisite food, but a memorable dining experience. Transfer this thinking to incentives and consider a drinks reception.

You’ve probably been to more of these than you care to remember, but if we take each part of the experience, break it down for the purposes of creative brainstorming, you can re-build this simple thing as a memorable experience.

A great example that we've used at Hello, is that you could have a Falconer with magnificent birds performing an interactive display during the drinks reception! 

This ‘Michelin star’ approach is how I view creative incentives and is always in the forefront of my mind during a creative brainstorming session. It might sound amusing, but the thought ‘what would a Michelin star chef do?’ did actually run through my head many times over the brainstorming session!

My secrets to successful brainstorming

Think like a ‘Michelin Star Chef’ Like I said above, it’s a bit of a strange concept but when you continually think along this idea you begin to always look at the full package, presentation and experience for your clients...If you want to break the ice before you start brainstorming, get your group to put some chef’s hats on!

Like minded creative people Brainstorming can work in groups of 4-5 or more, or just as effectively in a group of 2-3. It really depends on who the individuals are, their characteristics and how well they know / communicate with each other.

Make sure you know and understand the dynamics of your group before you start, otherwise it could end up being a bit fiery, or a bit dull & unproductive!

Set your agenda Make sure you know what you want to achieve from the day, otherwise you could end up pursuing ideas that aren’t beneficial.

Choose your environment carefully Make sure you choose a space that is comfortable, clutter free and inspirational. If things are getting a bit stale during the day switch the venue in the afternoon.

We actually did a lot of our brainstorming at my house, then nipped into the Hello Scotland office for quick change of scene and a coffee!

Recording your ideas It’s good to write down EVERYTHING from your session so that you don’t miss any potential ideas. I scribble a lot and usually draw rough flow charts or mind maps so I always remember the train of though and how we got to certain ideas / conclusions.

These are principles that we also apply to incentive / events brainstorming and other parts of our business, where a continuous circle of innovation and creativity is needed.


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