Given the ever increasing challenging and competitive business landscape, companies and organisations are both hiring and spending to boost their staffs’ productivity. They are not looking for only those industrious candidates but also seeking new blood who could navigate confidently around the less-predictable waters nowadays.
A key feature desired in staffs and employees is creativity – being able to come up with the most ingenious of all solutions despite the varying conditions. Hence, other than simply hiring new staffs to fill the gap, companies also send their staff for upgrading and retraining. This approach could save them the cost of retraining new employees.
In developing their creativity, there is a plethora of options to choose from. In this article, I will be sharing a bit on how to develop creativity through outdoor adventure. My sharing is inspired by my participants’ observations and personally experiencing the works of outdoor adventure.
In essence, the major difference between outdoor adventure versus indoor programmes is that the former brings participants out to the elements. The natural environment, as we all know, is never constant.
For example, despite the extensive data used during weather forecasting, the weatherman will always lament that it is increasingly becoming more difficult to make predictions. Thus, being in the outdoors is metaphorically similar to the real business world.
I spent some time observing and reflecting on how to develop creativity through outdoor adventure. There are 3 common situations in an outdoor adventure programme which could develop creativity. (There are definitely more than these 3 examples, these are just some of the common ones)
Developing Creativity Through Outdoor Adventure
1.Team Challenge Activities
A common feature in outdoor adventure programmes, especially for corporate groups, is team challenge activities. Typically in those activities, a team will face a specific task or challenge for them to solve.
Mohawk Walk, Meusse, Find A Tree and High Wall are just some of the normally seen activities. These activities typically require some form of communication or coordination by the participants. To suit the adult group, the activities will have been tweaked such that they require innovation and creative thinking by the participants.
Expeditions are synonymous with outdoor adventure. Teams will typically set off on a journey, regardless of the distance, to a particular destination. Seems unrelated to creative thinking, right? Hold on.
I’ve observed interesting and creative actions by my participants during their expeditions. When required to keep track of their distance travelled, some creative participants will pick up stones, leaves or twigs to have a counting system. You will be surprised that those ideas came from them although I could have chosen to teach them those methods. But as a facilitator, I gave them questions to get them thinking of using the natural resources to aid their navigation.
Another common scenario that occurs during expeditions is equipment failures. Examples are torn backpack and broken tent poles. I must admit that I have been awed at numerous times witnessing the ingenious solutions my participants came up with.
3.Packing A Backpack
The final example how to develop creativity through outdoor adventure is the simple and daily routine of packing a backpack. If you come from the army, everything is normally standardised.
However, in outdoor programmes, you could allow your participants to pack their bags by themselves and you will definitely be amazed at how they arrange their belongings in (and outside) their bags. Even after conducting a briefing on how to pack their bags, participants still find their own creative ways to get their stuff slotted in. Is it wrong? Of course not!
Having shared all the 3 ways to develop creativity, I must remind that the list is actually not exhaustive. I should also add that the activities must be properly facilitated to achieve the desired outcomes. Facilitation in layman’s terms is to help a particular process. However, it does not guarantee that the intended outcomes are achieved although it could help direct the participants’ thought processes towards the end result.
Going back to this article’s topic, yes, you could develop creativity through outdoor adventure programmes via countless activities and tasks. A great quote by Edward de Bono sufficiently illustrated the value of creative thinking:
“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.” – Edward de Bono
(This is a curated article from my earlier website, TheOutdoorPreneur.com, which I am converting into an online outdoor learning site.)