Here is a brief review of quantum idea generation.
- Quantum idea generation produces at least 12 times more ideas than brainstorming.
- To generate these powerful results you need to use four elements – diversity, stimulus, brain type, and eliminate fear and have fun.
Today we’re going to dive deep into the topic of how to pull coordinate the four elements of Quantum Idea Generation 2.0. You can immediately start using the help in this podcast.
Let’s start with a big picture view. There is a sequence for the development of the four elements of quantum idea generation – diversity, left and right brain, stimulus, and no fear, just fun. All four parts need to work together. In no place is this coordination more important than knowing the left and right brain makeup of your group and developing the right kinds of stimulus.
The discusses the sequential development of the four elements. In this podcast there is going to be considerable detail in what follows. As always, if you want to review this podcast, you can go to my blog – i2ge.com/blog where my written notes for this podcast are posted.
First, you need to select the people you want in the idea generating session. This largely depends on the degree of importance and challenge you face in generating innovative ideas.
- Level I: a fairly routine, relatively low priority and importance of meeting. The need for diversity is also fairly low. You can probably accomplish the task with people from the department with primary responsibility, like marketing, with additional diversity from related departments, like sales and possibly supply chain. You always want at least this minimum level of diversity to ensure you get better ideas than you would get from people who are very, very close to the need.
- Level II: this is a meeting on an important topic where the success of the meeting is very dependent upon getting new and better ideas. For example, it can be a quarterly planning meeting or a meeting to sell a major new customer or a meeting to develop next year’s promotion plan. Diversity becomes very important. Besides the department with primary responsibility for the meeting, you definitely want 3 – 6 people from outside the department who are also deeply involved in the subject matter.
- Level III: this is a major meeting with a critical need for very big ideas capable of being dramatically better than the competition or what you’re currently doing. In addition to the diversity in level II, you want to add 3 – 6 people from outside the company. Potential sources include consultants with relevant expertise and the right people from suppliers.
Having selected the diversity, you want to determine the distribution of left and right brain thinkers in your group. In the podcast on this topic I shared that there are left and right brain thinkers. There are also a small number of people that are balanced left and right brain thinkers – equally good from both perspectives. Whenever there is about 60% or higher presence of either one of these, this should determine the type of idea generating exercises you plan to use.
Now that you know who is going to be in the session and the left and right brain thinking orientation of the group, you are ready to plan your idea generating exercises.
- The vast majority of idea generating exercises should be done in groups of four people sitting at a round table. There is considerable evidence suggesting that four is the optimal number. In many exercises, you will want to work in pairs so four is a great number. In each group make sure that there is diversity.
- From the podcast on stimulus, you will almost always want to start with a background and grounding presentation. If you have a left brain, this can be full of facts and charts. If you have a right brain group, it needs to be more of an overview and visuals.
- If you’re doing a level II session and certainly if you’re doing a level III session, you will probably want to follow that with a broader perspective and/or relevant developments stimulus presentation. Again the same comments I just made regarding left and right brain apply to this presentation also.
- You’re now ready for the first round of idea generation exercises. Again from the stimulus podcast, you have a specific example of a left brain and right brain idea generating exercise. You want to start with a fairly specific objective of the session.
- Subsequent idea generating exercises should build on the previous ones. For example, in the next round of work the group can select the biggest ideas from the previous idea generating exercise for further development.
- Depending upon the objective and its complexity, you will want to go through multiple sequences to probe multiple dimensions.
- You will also want to repeat the entire cycle if there are very different alternative directions you want to explore. In a level III meeting, there almost always will be multiple alternative directions you want to explore.
- Finally, whether a predominantly left or right brain group, you want to consider changing things up depending upon the level of engagement and energy in the room.
You are now ready for the meeting and it is time to act on the no fear, only fun element. The suggestions in the podcast on this element are direct and to the point. You will want to establish the importance of wild and wacky ideas and the importance of everyone, especially managers, to not judge in any way the ideas that are generated. Everyone needs to know that there will be a time and place to judge ideas.
There should always be a facilitator for the meeting. The facilitator should be the key person who has planned the meeting, especially the stimulus presentations and idea generating exercises. During the session, the facilitator plays a critical role of monitoring productivity and energy in the room. In many idea generating exercises, you want people to write their ideas on 4 x 7 cards and collect them after the session. This will give you a good idea about the quantity and quality of ideas being generated. You want the energy to be high, positive, and focused on the task.
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Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reconnecting with you soon. Have a great day.
Richard Haasnoot, Head Coach, Innovate2Grow Experts/i2ge.com
Founder and Producer, Innovation Best Practices podcast i2ge.com/podcast