Cultivating creativity is the goal of Art Expeditions, a St. Louis-based outfit that leads groups in art-themed exercises.

Teams use photography, mobile construction, and sketching to stretch their creative thinking. “It gets people to experience their environment in a new way,” says Stacey Morse, who owns the company ( with her husband, Stuart.

Talx Corp., a St. Louis application service provider, decided on a mobile-building exercise for a recent quarterly sales meeting. The group broke into teams, which had to convert rubber bands, dowels, and washers into mobiles.

Midway through the exercise, a team member was traded. “It was meant to simulate what happens when there's a new person in the department,” says Jeri Sims, a team manager for Talx.

At the end, the teams presented their designs and discussed the process. Sims says the process not only tested individuals' creativity, but also forced them to examine their team skills.