24 Jan 15|Innovation

How many times have you been in a meeting and someone has piped up and said, we are going to brainstorm, and you either think oh no not again or right, I have to turn on the brainstorming part of my brain and hope it works

I am borrowing again from Amantha Imber at Inventium because I actually tried this in a Create and Innovate workshop and it worked beautifully!

How many times have you been in a meeting and someone has piped up and said, we are going to brainstorm, and you either think oh no not again or right, I have to turn on the brainstorming part of my brain and hope it works

There is a chapter in one of Dr Amantha Imber’s books titled Brainstorming is Bollocks. It’s based on the idea that if you don’t have a great idea or at least think you have a great idea, you will be more inclined to keep your mouth shut at any brain storming session! What if you sound stupid, or sound like you have no idea, or worse still – make a mistake!! Shudder! Dread! Cringe!

Or – what if what you are feeling is inhibited or pressured? Haven’t we already established several times over that we get our greatest inspirations or best ideas when we are in a relatively neutral, even quiet thinking space – you know – shower, just before we nod off, riding a bike, on a walk etc. etc. etc.

Let’s face it – some people don’t generate their best ideas in a group scenario.

That’s where Shifting comes in.

This was apparently developed by Robert Epstein from Harvard University. Shifting combines individual AND group idea development and goes like this…

  1. Work on the idea/problem individually
  2. Work in a group building on the individually generated ideas
  3. Work again generating individual ideas
  4. Build on these new individually generated ideas

If you want a bit more detail you’ll have to get the book by Dr Imber.

So in a controlled study, with a traditional brain storming control group and a shifting group, Epstein found that the shifting group generated more ideas and broader ideas.

The shifting concept encourages continued discussion around the ideas generated. These discussions can take place with friends or colleagues or both,  and actually give permission for the ideas to grow. You aren’t locked into an answer. The idea is fluid. The idea continues to morph into a solution – and after all, isn’t that what we are after from Brain Storming Sessions?

As I said, I tried it in a workshop! Instead of coming away with a list of mediocre ideas and solutions – we came up with a series of actions. I’ll let you know how things develop…

Let’s face it – some people don’t generate their best ideas in a group scenario.

Let’s face it – some people don’t generate their best ideas in a group scenario.

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