Classic Brainstorming

More than any other situation Change is about cooperation and collaboration. No matter if your company is in serious trouble or just wants to find a new way to line itself up – it always needs people to initiate, moderate, steer, coordinate and live that Change.

So what? The problem is that often people simply don´t know how to cooperate. Of course people cooperate on a daily base, but this is mostly routine, it´s like a form of vegetative state. Change causes different needs and different needs urges people to modify their behavior.

Over years I have collected several “Creativity Techniques” to support Cooperation between people – not only in times of Change. It is always better to be prepared than surprised…

What are Creativity Techniques?
Creativity techniques are heuristic methods to facilitate creativity in a person or a group of people. They are most often used in creative problem solving.

Generally, most creativity techniques use associations between the goal (or the problem), the current state (which may be an imperfect solution to the problem), and some stimulus (possibly selected randomly). There is an analogy between many creativity techniques and methods of evolutionary computation.

In problem-solving contexts, the random word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest such method. A person confronted with a problem is presented with a randomly generated word, in the hopes of a solution arising from any associations between the word and the problem. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.

  1. Arrange the meeting for a group of the right size and makeup (typically 4-8 people)
  2. Write the initial topic on a flipboard, whiteboard or other system where everyone can see it. The better defined, and more clearly stated the problem, the better the session tends to be.
  3. Make sure that everyone understands the problem or issue
  4. Review the ground rules
  • Avoid criticising ideas / suspend judgement. All ideas are as valid as each other
  • Lots, Lots & Lots – a large number of ideas is the aim, if you limit the number of ideas people will start to judge the ideas and only put in their ‘best’ or more often than not, the least radical and new.
  • Free-wheeling. Don’t censor any ideas, keep the meeting flow going.
  • Listen to other ideas, and try to piggy back on them to other ideas.
  • Avoid any discussion of ideas or questions, as these stop the flow of ideas.
  1. Have someone facilitating to enforce the rules and write down all the ideas as they occur (the scribe can be a second person)
  2. Generate ideas – either in an unstructured way (anyone can say an idea at any time) or structure (going round the table, allowing people to pass if they have no new ideas).
  3. Clarify and conclude the session. Ideas that are identical can be combined, all others should be kept. It is useful to get a consensus of which ideas should be looked at further or what the next action and timescale is.
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