Friday, July 07, 2006

A More Innovative Way to Innovate

“We sit there looking embarrassed like we’re all new to a nudist colony,” says Joe Polidoro who has worked for a variety of banks.

“I can’t remember a single instance where a group produced a really creative idea,” says John Clark, a former university dean of engineering.

“It can’t be scheduled at 9:15am, I’m more mercurial than that,” says Kate Lee, General Electric worker.

“The best way to get good ideas is to get people to write them down privately and then bring them in,” says Harvard professor David Perkins.

“There are so many things people do in management because they think it’s good, but there’s no evidence for it. Teamwork is one example. Brainstorming is another,” says Paul B. Paulus, professor of psychology at University of Texas at Arlington.

The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article about brainstorming in the workplace, and it conclude that collaborative brainstorming sessions are nothing but a waste of time. Managers use these sessions to make people feel like they have a voice in the decisions that will affect the company. But while teamwork is the American way, and “there is no bad idea”—it’s not always the best way, and yes, there is.

Terms like “coblabberation” and “blamestorming” are commonly practiced in team situations with a diverse group of people to the point where they come to obvious conclusions, or even worse, mediocre ideas.

As a creative facilitator, I’ve walked into sessions like this, and it takes effort to get the group to a state of mind in which they actual feel like they have a voice, but more importantly, a state in which they are able to voice strong, creative ideas. Just a couple of weeks ago, our firm conducted brainstorming groups with nearly 300 scientists. We encouraged them all to take time prior to the scheduled meeting for brainstorming. This type of pre-work is generally effective. Attendees know the topic of discussion, and have ideas to bring to the table. This creates a nice discussion because they have thought through their ideas and are able to expand on them, and others.

I have learned how to motivate people for optimum performance – and with our Action Shoes® tool – you can create a productive meeting full of respect and innovation to help accelerate ideas and explore mediums for action.

No comments: