Posted on 4 Comments


Take a break

Although not a formal game, unstructured time, whether it’s a walk in the park, an informal lunch, or just a short break, is not only helpful but critical to the creative process. A break allows people time to process new information. It gives teams time to gel as a unit so that all the players can get to know each other. It also gives people a chance to catch up on details of their work or personal lives, which helps reduce the stress in the session.

Thomas Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci were both known for taking short naps interspersed with intense working sessions. The break gives ideas a chance to settle and creates opportunities for them to merge and collide with previous knowledge or other people’s ideas.

Invites teams to take a walk, take informal time to get to know each other or catch up on outside work. Skipping breaks is a dangerous business. Don’t underestimate the power of a break to renew, refresh and reinvigorate your team.

Research confirms the “break effect.” In a 2010 study entitled ”
Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea,” researchers found that a hybrid approach that combined group work with individual time for reflection resulted in the most quality ideas.

4 thoughts on “Break

  1. Taking a break is one thing that I know as a facilitator I overlook. Additionally many meetings and leaders also feel a great need to “cover all the information” that breaks are shortened or skipped or working lunches are forced.
    This recesses the brain into un-learning.
    Breaks to breath fresh air and reflect upon the information in the individual preferred style increases retention and learning.

  2. I fully support the value of the creative pause, but I don’t think the research you point at, actually supports this.

    The individual work part of the hybrid approach, is meant to be a creative idea generating time, not a reflection time and in addition, the experiments they ran had the individual work running before the main group sessions, so there was no chance these sessions could have been used for reflection.

    This is a lovely article on the subject:

  3. Great article Simon, thanks!

  4. […] from left to right, laying together groups that felt related.  I printed out the diagram, took a Break for lunch, and over quesadillas I made sense of my feelings and thought through a theory.  This, […]

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