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What’s the Big Idea Leader Challenges

creativity, innovation, brainstorming, workplace

Here are 5 tips to get HUGE production from your brainstorming sessions!

Recently, I discovered an old article I wrote for Training Magazine back in 2004 entitled, “What’s the Big Idea?”  As I was looking over the article, it was insightful how some things change, and well-others—not so much. I believe (a lucky) thirteen years later, economic conditions are better.  There is one thing that really strikes me.  In our modern day, how do we deal with so many more distractions?! Some are even calling it the “Age of Distraction”.

Leaders are challenged to develop higher quality programs with limited resources, that deliver a more quantifiable return on investment. Amid all this chaos is an opportunity for innovation and creative problem solving!

The interesting point is, most people are looking for that One Big Idea.

We know quantity leads to quality…at least in most cases. One BIG observation I now have internalized, after some bruises and more significant injuries— is there really are bad ideas. Come on…I know I am judging but, be honest…you know it is true!

Here’s the thing. I finally realized how to tell when it happens. Also, how to avoid it (bad ideas), more often. Now, I can help others create their BIG IDEAS, enabling them to hit their target and make clients have an OYM (Oh Yeah! Moment) instead of an OSM (You get it) moment.

I will share these insights with you in hopes you will reap greater gains in your brainstorming efforts.

First, I would like to give a shout out to the life changing benefits I have received from my exposure to the Osborne-Parnes Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Process. Developed years ago, this process has been used to settle many complex world-wide issues to the simple ‘Honey, where do you want to go to dinner tonight?

The benefits to any learning/growing organization, skilled in creative problem solving (CPS) techniques, are numerous but here are a few of the most important:

  • CPS provides simple, repeatable ways for groups (and individuals) to generate effective, even breakthrough solutions.
  • Maximize everyone’s innate creative talents.
  • Creativity skills can be effectively taught to everyone.
  • Employees are empowered to solve problems, be more accountable and perform better as a team.
  • Will help a company move from imitation to origination!
  • The most economical, impactful, sustainable weapon in your arsenal.

Here are a few tips to provoke creativity and imaginative change in your organizations:

  1. Blow it up! When you think you have achieved a fair level of success with your program, it is time to recreate it! Pablo Picasso once said, ‘Every act of creation begins with an act of destruction.’ Look at your projects and destroy them from the inside out. Imagine the possibilities of a new, bold and totally off-the-hook approach.

In an excellent book, “Mad Dogs, Dreamers and Sages: Growth Through Discovering Imaginative Intelligence”, the authors pointed out Robert Redford’s unwavering belief that growth is not an accounting practice but a creative process. The visionary young actor (age 24) in 1961, bought two acres of land for $500 and built a log cabin there. Today, the Sundance Group is an international enterprise which includes a Film Festival, a cable channel, a retail catalog, a resort, and of course the Institute. It has grown to 6000 gorgeous acres of Ponderosa pine and quaking Aspen trees—once the hunting ground for the Ute tribe. Redford points out that it perpetuates his goal, “the sponsoring of a process that will allow people to have new visions and new voices.” Moss doesn’t grow on the Sundance Kid, he is constantly looking to blow up his successful enterprises to grow them organically.


 “When you have the good fortune to have success in your life, that is precisely the time you should reinvent yourself. Because you can get real stale. You can fall in love with yourself.” ~ Robert Redford

2. Promote Playtime. Adults in general are more self-directed and must take control of their own learning. Because of their life experiences, adults are more goal oriented, practical problem solvers. While many companies reward such behavior, you might want to revert to being a young kid again to provoke more creativity. You will be immensely successful if you get adults to learn to be playful while generating a list of ideas. Then, get them to be the adults again, engage their critical thinking skills and make choices from the list for action.

3. THINK OUTSIDE! In a world where people suffer from information overload, as well as attention spans measured in microseconds, some believe comprehension and retention are achieved only at the intersection of entertainment and education. We consider online learning very effective when great curriculum is effectively presented.  To reach its full potential, the subject matter must be engaging and relevant or it’s a waste of time for both the learner and the teacher.  Using multi-media and creating engaging training is relatively easy.  Keeping it relevant is the real challenge. We find with so much technology stealing our attention today, getting back to a real outdoor sensory experience can be very cathartic for most people. It’s good to get nature back in your life.

4. Do it in Style! To generate better ideas, go big or go home! If you are locked indoors make it “The Great Indoors!” How might you make your brainstorming room appeal to visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning modalities? Apply some feng shui to your space. Get out of your boring office and ‘trade spaces’ for a more exciting environment for learning.

5. Just Do It! Subscribe to the ideology that action beats the pants off sitting around and thinking about action.

There are many more techniques to specifically take just OK ideas and make them magical. Just as there are ways to make insane ideas work when you didn’t believe it was possible.

Contact us today to assess your creative state and allow us to show you more possibilities!

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