Men are social animals, which means that their survival and evolution are linked to their ability to connect with others, making the most of shared skills, creativity and ideas . However, putting heads together to create a powerful brain capable of producing shared value is not always easy: this is why it is advisable to resort to methods and tools that can help us. We will describe a few in this article.
From brainstorming to flow of ideas
The word “brainstorming” is now part of the business jargon and identifies every creative moment – more or less structured – aimed at generating ideas, finding solutions and overcoming obstacles of various kinds.
In the vast majority of companies, however, these activities are limited to an exchange of opinions where the views of the superiors often prevail over the best ideas. In the absence of a model to follow, hierarchies tend to prevail, with the risk of causing divisions and internal team conflicts which might divert from the set goals or even damage team spirit. The new brainstorming techniques try to overcome this impasse by adopting specific tools for each stage of the process.
Photo Rodion Kutsaev by UnSplash
A creative ritual
Creativity is truly one of the most sacred things and one of the most powerful blessings we are gifted with as human beings, and as such it must be respected and practiced through real rituals.
In an effective brainstorming session everyone contributes to generating ideas. First of all choose a quiet and comfortable place, where you have all the tools you need to work (post-it notes, paper, colors, …) as well as food supplies (water, drinks, fruit, …) in case the session goes on quite long. Start by sharing with the participants the practices of interaction, including the following two which we consider essential:
- there are no right or wrong ideas, put judgement aside and freely express anything that comes to your mind
- “No but” kills ideas, replace it with “Yes and” which builds creative bonds
– The Brainstorming of CampMeUp 2019 –
Working with our heads and our hearts
It’s time to roll up your sleeves! Let’s take a real life example: suppose you have a goal, e.g. identifying 2 or 3 projects to improve the quality of life within your company, and then evaluating their feasibility with your managers. Let’s proceed step by step:
- 99 ideas stage: start by asking “what might help improve life within our company?”. All the participants write as many ideas as they can think of, regardless of whether they are feasible or not, writing each idea on a different post-it note. This individual moment – which can last a few minutes – allows everybody to express their opinions, including those who are particularly shy and reserved
- Presentation stage: everyone reads out their ideas giving a brief explanation, and then sticks their post-it notes onto the board
- Clustering stage: under the guidance of a host (who is selected at the beginning of the session) organize the ideas proposed in clusters, i.e. in homogeneous groups, and divide them into macro-categories. You can group complementary or overlapping ideas, rewording them if necessary. You should get to a maximum of 5 to 10 well-defined proposals: in the case of the example above these could include the creation of a recreational area, corporate car-sharing, a separate waste collection system, sports activities during lunch break, …
- Investment stage: pretending they have to finance the ideas proposed with a total of 100$, all the participants decide how they want to invest the whole or fractioned amount according to their subjective parameters including creativity, feasibility, emotional involvement, financial return
- Definition stage: once you have identified the 2 or 3 most popular solutions, you can move on to the evaluation and definition stage, which will also involve the management.
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Human nature is generative and creative, it naturally seeks solutions that allow its evolution. We’re at our best when we share ideas, passions and results.
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– Processes vs. creativity: setting free and guiding creativity for effective meetings and brainstormings –
– Ayşegül Dönmez & Riccardo Trevisani, CampMeUp 2018 –
Just like any other gift, creativity requires practice and must be made available to others through precise acts of will and discipline. This might sound contradictory to some people, but to quote David Kelly, co-founder of IDEO, one of the most innovative companies of the last few years:
“People tend to think that creativity is something you’re born with. I believe that we can improve it by practicing it over and over again. All we need is the confidence to believe we can do it”.
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