P16 The Scoop on Making Creative Exercises Work for You.

  1. In This Podcast.
    1. Review the three exercises shared by Kari.
    2. Discuss the critical elements that determine our success.
    3. Suggest some additional alternatives and variations that are also proven to be effective.
    4. Show how the other three elements of quantum idea generation can put a turbo booster on these exercises.
  2. Kari’s three exercises – what they have in common.
    1. Examples of how stimulus can prompt new ways of thinking about needs, opportunities, and creative solutions.
      1. Grab bag – involved random stimulus where the main criteria was something that captured our attention, we thought it was interesting and even provocative. It is an exercise where each object gets special, focused attention as opposed to dealing with a group of stimuli at one time.
      2. Kitchen chemistry –this is especially good for food and beverage exploratories, we get to consider a wide range of stimuli in different combinations a challenge many of our preconceptions. In this exercise groups of stimuli, often unexpected combinations, challenge us to think in new and different directions.
  • Uncle moneybags – removing conscious or subconscious barriers to our creativity, in this case money. This is a barrier that often stands in the way of people broadly considering potential creative solutions.
  1. Break the laws – this is another creative exercise that has the same basic purpose as uncle moneybags. In this exercise you are asked to write down all of the innovation related do’s and don’ts in your business. What you identified them, you then are given the freedom to completely ignore all of them. This is a powerful exercise because it again removes barriers that usually are in people’s thinking in a way that limits their creativity. Breaking free creates freedom to explore new dimensions, which can often lead to the big, breakthrough ideas.
    1. Reduce fear: fear of looking bad in front of your peers and even your boss.
  2. To varying degrees they all get us out of our comfort zone.
    1. When we are in our comfort zone, is the equivalent of being inside the box, which as I’ve mentioned before makes it very difficult to get out of the box thinking.
    2. Need to be faced with the unusual, the challenging, and even the inspiring.
  3. The other factors in quantum idea generation.
    1. Diversity: most of the examples that Kari shared were in a creative group with only people inside the company. For example, the engineers at the utility pole device company.
      1. All exercises work much better when we have increasing levels of diversity.
      2. Levels of diversity – a mixture of functions and disciplines from within the company, people within the company and external expertise, and add to this people with high levels of creativity and big picture business perspectives.
    2. Left/right brain.
      1. The three exercises she shared with us are modestly right brain in orientation. When they are only modestly right brain, left brain people can still feel reasonably comfortable and be creative.
      2. The break the laws exercise: left brained people love this because it gives them greater freedom and right brain people love it because they love freedom in almost any form.
  • Always be aware of the makeup of the people in your creative session. Many company disciplines, like manufacturing and supply chain, tend to have a strong left brain orientation. That’s not to say that there aren’t some truly right brained folks. Utilize creative idea generating exercises that will optimize creativity based on the left and right brain group composition.
  1. Reducing fear.
    1. As mentioned earlier, break the laws and uncle moneybags are too creative exercises that can significantly reduce fear – fear of being confined by the way things have been done in the past and fear of needing to have ideas fit into a specific budget constraint.
    2. Exercises that allow a certain amount of fantasy and freedom to let the creativity go wherever it wants to go, can help significantly reduce the air.
  • Please recall earlier advice. Provide strong and consistent positive feedback, especially when people share ideas that clearly step outside the box. Make sure that bosses within the group understand they are important role – no judging of ideas or people.
  1. So what can you do with this series.
    1. First, you have some specific step-by-step idea generating exercises that can be used in many/most creative sessions.
    2. Second, make sure that you incorporate all four elements of the quantum idea generation model. Remember it’s not always black and white. There are degrees of diversity, degrees of stimulus, degrees of left/right brain exercises, and degrees to which you can reduce fear. Do your best in the circumstances you are faced with.
  2. At Innovate2Grow Experts or i2ge.com we have more than 100 pages of creative idea generating exercises. This gives us great flexibility as we go through a creative session. While I’ve always entered a multiple days project with a minute by minute game plan of exercises, I always call audibles which results in different exercises being used. Certain exercises are best for certain purposes. As we learn about the group’s dynamics, we go with the flow and utilized exercises that optimize creativity.