How to Get More and Better Ideas From Both Left and Right Brain People for Any Innovation Need.

In any creative session you will have people who are left and right brain in the way they think and create. This blog addresses how you can get the best innovative ideas from both groups for any need, at any time, for any kind of business.

Quantum idea generation – overview.

Here is a brief review of Quantum Idea Generation 2.0. In the previous blogs I have covered the following:

  • 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 you bring your understanding of the brain types—left and right brain thinkers– into an idea generating meeting. You can immediately start using the help in this podcast.

  • As you plan for an important innovation idea generating meeting, make sure you plan to understand the makeup of brain types in your session so that you can bring in the best idea generating exercises that best fit the brain types in the session.
  • This blog covers important “must haves” in planning idea generating exercises based on brain types and provides some real brain type idea generating exercise examples.

Let’s start by discussing brain types. Some people believe that there are creative types and not creative types. Other people believe that you are either born creative or not born creative. These are myths. Research study after research study consistently proves that virtually all people can be equally creative. The challenge is that left brained thinkers and right brain thinkers go about developing new ideas very differently. Traditionally left brained thinkers are logical, love facts, methodical, and are more comfortable looking at the parts of a problem instead of the whole problem. On the other hand, right brain thinkers are people who love looking at the big picture, think more emotionally and intuitively, and like visuals and pictures for more than charts of numbers.

Here is how to design idea generating exercises based upon the left and right brain makeup of the people in your session.

  • First determine the makeup of left and right brain thinkers in your session. Ask them to take a simple online and free test. You can find available tests simply by Googling “left brain, right brain test” or “brain dominance.”
  • What do you do with what you’ve learned.
    • If your group is 60% or more left brain, primarily use left brain idea generating exercises, which I’ll cover in a moment.
    • Conversely, if your group is 60% or more, primarily use right brain idea generating exercises.
    • If there is a fairly even split between left and right brain participants, you will probably want to start with some left brain exercises. Depending upon how positively people react to the process, you can continue with mostly left brain with occasional right brain exercises or if the reaction is not positive consider using mostly right brain exercises with an occasional left brain exercise.

I will now share an actual left and right brain idea generating exercise.

  • Left brain exercise example.
    • These start by giving the group an assignment. For example, “in this exercise you are asked to generate ideas to create a 50% improvement in our customer service scores.”
    • Before people are asked to generate ideas, there can often be a stimulus presentation that precedes the request. From the stimulus podcast it could be a broader perspective or relevant developments stimulus presentation.
    • Left brained people like to start generating ideas on their own. So the first step is asking people to take out a writing pad and working alone to write down ideas to accomplish this goal.
    • In the next step, they are asked to share their ideas with one other person. The goal is to make each other’s ideas bigger and better.
    • In the next step, they are asked to share their ideas in a group of four. The goal is the same – make ideas bigger and better.
    • In the last step the four people share their ideas with the larger group to get feedback and improvements.
    • This is a traditional and highly effective left brain idea generating exercise.
    • It can be followed up by another sequence of steps where people are asked to take the top 2-4 ideas from the previous exercise and make them better and much bigger.
  • Right brain exercise example.
    • These start by giving each group of four people an assignment. For example, “in this exercise you are asked to generate ideas to create a 50% improvement in our customer service scores.”
    • You will immediately see how dramatically different right brain exercises are from left brain exercises.
    • People are given Post It notes and a pen. They are shown images on the screen that may or may not have any relevance to the idea generating need. For example, they could be shown an image of a happy customer followed by an image of a polar bear on an ice flow.
    • As each person sees the image, they very quickly write down single words on a Post-it that come to mind when they see the image. They are asked to write down the very first words that come to mind – no judging allowed.
    • After all the images have been viewed and all the Post Its written, they are mounted onto a sheet. There are squares numbered 2-12– these numbers correspond to the results that can come from rolling dice. The four people in a group put the notes evenly on all the squares.
    • The facilitator then rolls the dice and calls out a number. The top note on that number is put onto a flipchart page. After rolling the dice about four times and getting four different notes put onto the flipchart page, the group of four people is given a new task.
    • Using the four randomly chosen words on their flipchart page, they are to generate ideas that are capable of achieving the objective.
    • Right brained people love this kind of exercise. It’s fun. It gives them tremendous freedom. They love the spontaneous interaction with others.
    • Left brain people can feel distressed.
      • I once ran a session that was almost exclusively made up of left brain people. The energy in the room was not as high as I needed it to be. I threw in a right brain exercise like the one we just discussed. Two minutes into the exercise the senior person from the client said, “Richard, do you have any idea what you’re doing?” I responded by saying, “yes. Please trust me. You may be surprised how productive this is.” And they were surprised – the ideas were surprisingly breakthrough and on target.

Here are a couple of considerations when putting together left and right brain idea generating exercises.

  • You need to pay close attention to the energy of the group. You want them to be highly engaged. You want them to be having fun. You want them to feel that they’re having a high level of accomplishment.
  • Do not be afraid to mix it up. Use the occasional right brain exercise with a left brain group and vice versa.
  • I have given you the basics of left and right brain exercises. In my company, Innovate2Grow Experts we have more than 100 pages of left and right brain exercises. I frequently call audibles in a session and pull an exercise from one of the 100 pages.

If you would like to create far more robust innovation capabilities within your business, I have a complete portfolio of training programs that we tailor to your unique needs. If you would like to learn more, go to the Innovate2Grow Experts website – and click on Free Training on the menu bar.

One of my six books is Proven Practical Innovation That Delivers Results. This very low-cost book is available at Amazon in paperback and has a Kindle book. Is truly packed with lots of practical help.

Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reconnecting with you soon. Have a great day.

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/

Founder and Producer, Innovation Best Practices podcast