How to choose a venue for creative sessions, away days and brainstorms

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All great ideas are first shaped by circumstance, environment and demand.  However, regular brainstorming in your workplace, no matter how quirky or unusual it may be, can really hinder your team’s creativity – as being stuck in the same place all the time simply doesn’t do for creating new, fresh notions.  Taking your workforce out of their familiar environment and into a more inspirational space, one that can instantly provoke new thoughts and theories, is something that proves invaluable in all industries.

Finding a creative venue doesn’t have to be expensive.  An eccentric pub function room can bring an element of fun and informality, woodland picnics on a sunny day can stir forgotten senses, and a blank canvas, post modernist loft space can enthuse the instinct to add colour and build more adventurous new designs and concepts.

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The key is to determine exactly how you’d like the venue to affect your team, and this entirely depends on the project at hand.  If you need to rouse feelings of homeliness, wholesomeness and purity, a castle venue with nostalgic knick-knacks and open fires will undoubtedly create the right setting for more old-fashioned thinking.  If you need them to focus on personality, character and people, then a spacious and welcoming room with busy city views can provoke feelings of community, togetherness and scale.

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Theatre venues are also a great place to get creative juices flowing, and many people find that an almost childlike and nostalgic need to fill the space with noise, experiment with the lighting, and to use the environment to express themselves more eloquently and boldly.  This means that you can take over the stage and allow it be ‘coloured in’ by your team, therefore letting them create an environment that wills good performance, while also allowing free and confident improvisation.

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If funds are something of an issue, you may have to consider some seemingly unusual options to come up with a suitable place for your creative session or brainstorm.  Using a natural setting (such as the aforementioned woodland picnic) can work wonders for your team’s innovation and vision.  However, try to think outside the box and do some research – remember that your team will be all too familiar with the local parks and dog walking spots.  Hiring a mini van gives a sense of occasion and allows for some informal bonding during the journey, and you could take your colleagues somewhere more unusual – such as a beach, lake, mountains or remote fields.

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Make sure you take loads of stationary, flip charts and other essentials, and you could perhaps ask everyone to bring a healthy and interesting dish – leaving you with a varied potluck lunch that’s certain to please both minds and tummies…and your budget.  As the organiser, it’s up to you to consider essentials such as seating, eating and other practicalities – but these are all things that you can source from your team (or perhaps ask around your friends for a loan) completely free of charge, that also add a personal touch to the event.  Something as simple as an interesting bowl brought by a colleague from a faraway land, a comic stumble over a tree root, or a chance group encounter with some wildlife can be enough to incite the most wonderful and unique of ideas – and if you’d prefer somewhere a little more private, perhaps you, one of your team or someone you know would be willing to let you take over their particularly beautiful garden or patch of land for the day.

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You can contact Function Fixers to source tried and tested creative venues that suit your exact requirements, both in the UK and abroad – our service is free of charge, and only the very best venues make it on to our database – so you can guarantee that your budget (no matter how large or small) will stretch further than you ever thought it would…

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