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Creating Ideas

Collaboratively A storybook by SeriouslyCreative to help your group produce more and better ideas, faster.

SeriouslyCreative.com


Let’s Get Unstuck We know that when it comes to thinking up ideas - especially new and breakthrough ideas it can be hard. In fact, we often feel like our minds are stuck in a box and we just can’t get the ideas out. And all the stresses and interruption in the average word day don’t help. With the dozens of emails, phone calls, reports, deadlines and meeting how is anyone supposed to get any thinking done?!?! SeriouslyCreative

Thankfully it can be done with a little help, a little time and techniques. Techniques? Yes. Creative problem solving and ideation techniques have been around for a long time. But it is always surprising how few of us use them. Instead we fall back on the belief that if we just concentrate hard enough we will force the idea out of our head. This rarely works. Innovative and creative thinking requires us to think differently, temporarily suspend judgement, consider issues from new perspectives and widen our scope of possibilities. Techniques are like games that trick the mind into thinking differently and suspends it natural desire to focus only on what you know. Basically said, techniques help you use your imagination and stop the bad habits that kill creativity. So let us introduce you to a technique that can improve your innovative performance and get you unstuck.

Creating Ideas Collaboratively


What is IdeaExchange? It is a foundation creativity technique that helps groups of people generate high volume and diversity of ideas in a short amount of time. It also assures that we cross stimulate each others ideas by making sure we see what others are writing along the way. And it has many benefits over regular brainstorming. By having everyone write down their ideas rather than scream them out we assure that everyone participates and contributes ideas AND guarantee that all ideas will be recorded and therefore reviewable after the session. After all, if ideas are the same thing as money why would be throw them away. Because people are writing and not talking people focus on the ideas that are in their heads and are If I have an not ideadriven andto think in one direction only. This share itthat with you up there a assures we end with a good change you willin the greater diversity of ideas end which give us a better have a great idea too. change of ending up with a great idea.

IdeaExchange Your are going to need some things before you start: Recording Tools: everyone is going to need something to write with and write on. We like using 3x3 Post-It(R) notes but you can use index cards, plain paper or one huge piece of paper on the wall. The good things about Post-It(R) notes is that you can move them around, put them in clusters and flexibly organize them later. Space to Share & Think: Having a creative, informal and open space to gather your team is great. But most important is having some “space” to share your ideas where everyone can see them. We like to have a big wall that people can gather around and post their notes on. You can just as easily use a big conference table and have people circle around the notes. What is important is having a central area that people can move around and put what they write so others can see it. The Question and More Questions: Every idea session needs a clear and understandable challenge. these challenges are best expressed as a question that people can respond to. Make sure your team understands the challenge, that you are not focusing on the symptoms and that it is wide enough that people have room to “create” and that it doesn’t lead you to specific conclusions. Once you have your challenge you should ask yourself “what questions must be asked in order for us to address this challenge?” By creating a variety of supporting questions you can assure that your team thinks in many different direction and that thinking is pushed to it’s limits. You use these question during your IdeaExchange to stimulate thinking.

Creating Ideas Collaboratively


Rules for Success Write ALL ideas down: Now is the time to think up every and all ideas without censoring yourself. One of the biggest failures in ideation is when people assume that an idea is out-of-bounds, is too risky or will not be accepted leading them to not propose it. It is often the idea that is odd, risky and that makes us nervous that are the ones that offer the most value once evaluated. IdeaExchange is about “what if” and not about “yes, but.” Remind people that all ideas are good right now and that - after all - it is anonymous so you might as well write down your wild idea.

Write Clearly: People need to write clearly enough so other people can read what they write. They also need to write enough so that others understand what they are trying to say. Remember, no one word answers and no 1,000 word dissertations.

Don’t talk now - write: People are alway tempted to talk about their ideas. But now is not that time. We want people to get out what is in their heads. The more people talk the fewer ideas they are writing. Remind people that this is a race and that the quantity of ideas is what matters. There will be time to discuss ideas after the IdeaExchange is finished. If you need to put on loud music to make it harder for people to chat.

Build Upon Ideas: People can write new ideas as well as build upon other people’s ideas. If they see an idea and they think they can improve upon it or alter it in some way to bring new value they should write it down. The only rule is not to directly repeat ideas you have written or seen.


Quotes always help people focus on what is important. You can use these quotes to kick off your IdeaExchange

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Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. - samuel johnson In other words, don’t censor yourself, think about what might be. If we don’t think big and challenge assumptions we will not get anywhere.

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. - Linus Pauling Write down everything. Even if 99% of the ideas don’t work out the 1% that do are what matter. Put the percentage numbers in your favor by writing down as many ideas as possible. Creating Ideas Collaboratively


STEP ONE Give people the challenge questions and give them a moment to quickly discuss it to assure everyone understand it. Make sure it is written somewhere visible so people can refer back to it. Based upon the challenge question people should write down every idea they have. One idea per Post-It(R) note. Write clearly and enough information for people to get your idea. <extra> put on music and change it up often so that people’s minds are re-engaged constantly.

Questions in. Ideas out.

STEP TWO After a few minutes have people post their notes onto the wall. Have them randomly read 3-5 ideas. They them must see if they can improve on any of those ideas, co-oped something from an idea to improve one of their ideas or alter and idea into something new. They can decide to simply add more ideas from their minds. The idea here is that they see if they get any stimulus from other people’s ideas and KEEP WRITING new ideas and add them to the wall. Remember, keep the pressure on - it’s a race.

Hum, that idea gives me an idea.

STEP THREE After the first two wall postings start adding sub-questions that relate to your overall challenge questions. These questions are meant to get people unstuck and see the challenge from another perspective. Add a new question whenever you see people slowdown or in regular intervals. Make sure these questions are visible either projected, written on a white board or or on large sheets of people. Some people need to “see” the question in order to understand it better. <extra> Another way to do this is to give everyone on the team a list of these questions and let them use them as needed.

More Questions. More ideas.


STEP FOUR Once you feel you have exhausted the ideas have people start clustering them into groups that make sense to them. Have people start this by first just moving notes around WITHOUT TALKING. The rule is that anyone can move a note to whatever grouping they think makes sense. Yes, there will be conflicts as people move notes back and forth. Once . you see groups emerging have people start talking and making sense of them. Have them agree on where ideas go and then have them give each group a name.

Find the ones that fit together

STEP FIVE Have people vote on ideas that they like by using markers or small stickers. You can add structure to this by giving people a criteria for the voting or even have categories for votes (ie. blue star for ideas that has potential for increasing revenue, red star for ideas that strengthen future business potential). A good ratio is to give people votes equal to 1/4 the amount of ideas on the wall.

Oh, I like that one!

STEP SIX See if there are ideas that work together from those that were voted on. Now take the best ideas and turn them into more understandable concepts. Write a more detailed summary around this idea with information that explains what problem or opportunity it addresses, what it would do and how, who would it benefit and how. Discuss how this idea could be improved, what might be added to it, how it might fail and what would need to be done to assure that didn’t happen and what changes might help it have more impact. Think of this as a second round of “brainstorming” to make more out of your ideas before you take a final vote on them.

So, here is what I’m thinking.


So how could you use IdeaExchange in your Organization? “the more you use it the easier it becomes.”

Idea Board Choose a wall where there is a lot of office traffic and turn it into your idea board. Either the CEO, division managers or someone in leadership puts up a weekly challenge question and everyone is invited to add a Post-it(R) idea to the board. The ideas are collected and reviewed weekly.

7x7 How about a new office rule? Any meeting with 7 people or more needs to use the first 7 minutes of the meeting to create ideas around a challenge that any one member of the meeting has.

Feedback Idea Exchange doesn’t need to be for ideas only. How about use the same technique to get feedback after a meeting or to get everyones feedback on a new product or program. Why not ask people “What might we need to know before launching this program?” in order to catch problems early.

Monthly Ideas Every first Monday morning of the month is set aside of a company wide Idea Exchange where every department holds a brainstorming around the challenges that are most urgent in the next 1 to 3 months.

Convention Storming We sure do spend a lot of money on conventions. What if we could get it to pay for itself in ideas?! Hold a Idea Exchange at your next large annual event to get a large quantity of ideas from everyone at your convention around a challenge that needs some new thinking.


Who are we? We are SeriouslyCreative - experts in innovation, design thinking and business creativity. We help organizations get through the fuzzy front end of innovation. We also help improve organizational innovation performance through training in innovation approaches & methods, facilitation of ideation sessions that go well beyond the traditional brainstorming, coaching of senior managers to lead continuously innovative organizations and by doing organization engagements that enhance collaboration and creative problem solving skills.

3. Coaching 2. Facilitation 1. Training

Helping teams solve specific challenges by getting them to solutions that are better, bolder & more innovative, faster

Coaching senior managers in leading and managing for innovation and in creating innovation strategies that drive competitive advantage

4. Meeting Engagements Inspiring teams with active engagements activities at meetings, conventions and planning sessions to inspire more creative thinking & teamwork

Help teams become better creative problem solvers through proven process, tools & techniques to improve innovative performance

This is Dana. Who is Dana Montenegro? He is an innovation and business creativity advocate and practitioner with over 15 years of creative buesiness experience. He is the former Driver of Culture, Innovation & Inspiration for Red Bull Energy Drink. He started SeriouslyCreative in 2008 to bring his experinece in getting people to consistently produce new and creative products, services, business models and any other variety of business solution. And he loves what he does.


Our Approach IDEA Engineering We bring together a design thinking and human-centric approach with a discipline for finding viable business executables and use it to harness creative thinking and develop innovative solutions. It is a way of thinking that helps people develop deeper insights, generate breakthrough ideas and covert ideas into real things that have value. This approach, developed by us and our sister company Inotivity, is called IDEA Engineering and what we use in or trainings and facilitations and is how we think more and more companies need to think not just to create new ideas but to manage all facets of their business. If you are interested in how we use IDEA Engineering, what the 8 key disciplines of success are and how you can apply it them give us a call.

Investigate

Design

Investigate to find needs & insights that help us set a direction to real opportunities

Design new ideas and powerful concepts that help us shift the playing field so that what we consider creates competitive advantage

Experiment

Experiment with concepts to check for viability and feasibility so we know we are on target

Activate

Activate prototypes and plans that we rapidly learn from so we can modify our solution for best results in the marketplace

Creating Ideas Collaboratively


Our Out of the Box Thinking Space We are also home to SeriouslyCreative Space which is a 4K sq ft corporate meeting space specifically engineered to improve collaboration, out of the box thinking and productivity and located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Do you want to hear more about what we are saying?

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SeriouslyCreativeTV

San Juan, Puerto Rico

787.283.6077 Innovation Assistance for Companies that Plan to Grow

@IdeaRocket @ Space4Ideas

WeAreSeriouslyCreative

Check out our sister company at inotivity.com

www.seriouslycreative.com dana@seriouslycreative.com angie@seriouslycreative.com

Servicing clients in The United States, Canada, Caribbean, Latin America & someone in Europe since 2008


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Creating Ideas Collaboratively

Creating Ideas Collaborativly  

Flip charts, pizza and a board room a brainstorming does not make. Need to create better ideas with a group of people faster? Tired of alw...

Creating Ideas Collaborativly  

Flip charts, pizza and a board room a brainstorming does not make. Need to create better ideas with a group of people faster? Tired of alw...

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