The camp method in practice

The main purpose of the camp method is to stimulate creativity in groups. Mastering creativity in groups requires understanding of both creativity, group dynamics, individual psychology, learning processes etc., but a few core principles will help you start your own learning process as camp organizers and facilitators.

  • Say YES! Ideas – and people – are vulnerable in the early stages, so say ”yes and…” instead of ”yes, but…” . Build on other peoples ideas instead of criticising.
  • Use energizers instead of breaks. When people get tired and loose concentration, an energizing exercies will create new energy and focus, where a break tends to get people out of focus without generating much energy. According to experience you can work at least 18 hours without breaks – apart from lunch and dinner – if you use energizers and exercises.
  • All sorts of knowledge is valuable. Participants should not represent a narrow discipline. They should bring in all the knowledge they have from all aspects of their life. So avoid focus on education, job or position.
  • Avoid telling group members about each others disciplines or skills in advance and avoid personal presentations in the beginning. In this way ideas will not be judged by who they come from.
  • Let facilitators direct the groups attention on building on other peoples ideas instead of just promoting their own ideas. Encourage them to say ”And what I like about this idea is…” or ”…and then we could…”.
  • Avoid discussions. In discussions we try to win and be right. It is a competitive game, not a cooperative game. Facilitators should try to take groups out of discussions and back into cooperation. Encourage them to se the opportunities in the countering viewspoints.
  • One task, one deadline. Only give groups one task and one deadline at a time. And only when the previous task is finished. In this way they can focus on the task and not worrying about planning or structuring the process. If a group is working on more than one task, they start using energy on planning and structuring. The facilitator must take charge of the process and not let the group in doubt about whether they are responsible.
  • Split the overall process in small tasks in order to avoid thinking about planning and structuring. If a group spends more than 10-20 seconds understanding the task, it is too complex and should be divided in subtasks.
  • Find new locations where the participants haven’t been before – or where they are at least not used to come. In this way they don’t carry any habits with them related to the location.
  • Collect watches, mobile phones and laptops before the start in order to avoid disturbances or focus on time.