The topic for the June series is Creativity in the Workplace; something often discounted within organizations.  Why?  When companies are running lean, as many are right now, they want direct results.  The results of creativity are indirect; therefore, quantifying the benefits of creativity proves challenging.  Caution … underestimating the value of creativity can deprive your company of greatness.

Whether it is problem-solving, planning, reorganizing etc., try starting with Brainstorming.  And since Brainstorming is a creative process, it is essential to refrain from stunting it.  What does that mean?  It means three simple rules should be followed.

Rule #1   No “icking” someone else’s “oooh”!

When we tell another person their idea isn’t any good, (“icking” someone else’s “oooh), we shut them down and stunt creativity.  That person will begin to second guess their ideas, pull back from the group, and abstain from sharing.

Rule #2   No evaluating ideas.

Evaluating ideas during brainstorming limits the possibilities; thus stunting creativity.  Sometimes seemingly ridiculous ideas spur the greatest ideas.  A flurry of ideas flying around increases the positive energy and camaraderie in the group.  The more energy, the more likely great ideas will be generated.

Rule #3   Goal is quantity, not quality.

Prematurely asking which ideas are quality ideas will stunt creativity.  Determining quality comes after the brainstorming process is complete.  To encourage a plethora of ideas introduce some friendly competition – here are few suggestions:

  1. the first team to write down 35 ideas wins
  2. set a time limit and give a prize to the team with the most ideas when time is called
  3. set a time limit and give a prize to the team with the most non-repeated ideas
  4.  have teams come up with an idea which begins with every letter of the alphabet – first team done wins
  5. use a word or acronym that is applicable to the goal and have teams come up with an idea that begins with each letter of the word or acronym

Happy brainstorming!