Creativity – What can I do on Monday?

You’ve heard the talk, read the book, bought the T-shirt but what practical steps can you take on Monday morning to help creativity to flourish?

To start off, here are a few ideas. However with your new found idea generation skills, you should be able to think of lots more.

  • Create space (physical and time) for idea generation
  • By cutting down on non essential meetings
  • Avoiding micro managing staff
  • Allowing time for ‘play’ or to make mistakes (within reason)
  • Allowing interaction between individuals (at the coffee machine or water cooler).
  • Adopt simple techniques for modifying existing products or services
  • Think about having after action reviews to ensure that you avoid re-inventing the wheel.
  • Look at reward systems to encourage know-how to be shared and for salaries and bonuses to promote team working.
  • Hold curiosity meetings where people are allowed to ask ‘What if?’

Small organisations without boards could consider having an informal board of trusted acquaintances who will give advice in return for a meal, say.

Start looking at methods of gathering ideas that will encourage new ideas not just complaints (avoid the baggage of the traditional suggestion box). Ensure that contributions are recognised and that the process is transparent.

So what? You may say, these are not very creative. Well they are if you have been doing something else. Creative or alternative thinking does not mean playing with brightly coloured balls all day long. It means selecting appropriate techniques and methods from as wide a variety as possible and matching them to the task in hand to get the best results possible. Another reason to expand your management toolbox is to engage the widest audience possible. That person who yawns at meetings where documents are discussed might participate where a storyboard is used. Someone whose help you seek may apparently talk in riddles but they may in fact be using metaphor, try using their language.

One other thing to remember, just because the words ‘problem solving’ are used it does not mean that you have to have a problem to be solved. You may need to reframe a situation i.e. get another perspective, either to be able to change it or make sure that you have left nothing out.

Let’s look at the categories that techniques fall into:

Exploring/defining – such techniques can be used to try and find solutions to problems but they can also be used to find out more about an individual or group of people or try to create a shared understanding of a situation with abstract boundaries such as a vision or mission statement.

Idea generation – these techniques do exactly what it says on the tin. Brainstorming type techniques can be used to generate a large number of possibilities whilst nominal group techniques or modelling can create a shared idea amongst a group of people.

Screening – instead of just sitting around trying to vote for a preferred solution or rely on gut feel, there are a number of techniques that can help you such as bullet proofing.

Planning and prioritising – not quite planning in the true sense of the word but some of the screening techniques can help you prioritise and something like a storyboard is actually a plan (but without the small print) which can be turned into a readable document or used as a storyboard for PR or communications purposes.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Innovation – the people you need

How do you choose the right people who will support and nourish an innovation initiative? This article will attempt to provide you with a set of important roles together with some attributes of the people who should fill those roles. Here we are less concerned with titles or hierarchies and more concerned with getting the people who can help drive each critical role or task.

In reality, you will find people in your organization that will fit multiple roles; your goal is not to find an individual person for each role listed below, but rather to make sure your team covers each of the areas identified. Many times people can play multiple roles, especially in smaller organizations.

Connector Connectors have the ability to connect departments, organisations, and industries that normally would not be connected. Although they may be an expert in their own field, Connectors are generally people you’d describe as a mile wide and an inch deep. They know things about a variety of fields and industries and can connect them.

Collector The Collector holds the key position of collecting ideas and providing organised access to others who can help build the knowledge base and map what is already there.

Framer The Framer works with business functions and management to determine the appropriate evaluation schemes and frameworks teams should use to evaluate ideas fairly, transparently and consistently. The Framer can construct the evaluation frameworks which your team will use to evaluate your ideas, and ensure the evaluations are consistent and transparent.

Judge The Judge evaluates the ideas, using the Framer’s framework. Generally speaking there are many “Judges” for any idea – often representing business functions (sales, marketing, R&D), regions or other business silos. Judges follow the evaluation criteria set by the Framers, who worked with all the entities involved in setting the evaluation framework.

Prototyper Many organisations are comfortable with their new product development (NPD) process. Once they know what to make or offer they are pretty efficient at producing it. The problem they have is how to capture ideas and evaluate them. The people identified above fulfill this need; however, a key person you must have is the Prototyper. Between evaluation and development there is an iterative process-the Prototyper is the master who makes rapid prototyping a reality.

Measurer You get what you measure. If you want your organisation to innovate, you have to establish what you will measure to make sure this happens. These metrics range from quantitative, such as time from idea submission to launch, to qualitative, such as what was learned from a failing.

Storyteller The Storyteller is one of the most valuable roles in the organization. The Storyteller’s responsibility is to collect, keep, and tell stories about the organization. People respond to stories better than any other method of communication.

Lookout An important role in the identification of new trends and the analysis of those trends and the impacts they may have on your business is held by the Scout.
Scouts scan the future to understand how the industry is likely to change. What are the scenarios we might face? What technologies are in development that may affect our business? What might a competitor do that would upset our position in the market? What is hot in other industries that we might adapt?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin
My Innovation Handbook is FREE for you!
Simply enter your full name and email address in order to receive a copy of my Innovation Handbook. You will also be subscribed to my monthly newsletter. You can amend or cancel your subscription at any time by clicking on the links in the newsletter.
Thank you for subscribing
If you have signed up in order to get a FREE book or report then you will shortly receive an email giving you the URL of the page for downloading the PDF file. If you do not receive such an email within a few minutes then please get in touch and a copy will be emailed to you directly.
Need a simple guide to Innovation?
Enter your details below to grab a copy of my Innovation Handbook and receive regular news and tips on Business Creativity & Innovation.
Thank you, please check your Inbox
You will shortly receive an email giving you the URL of the page for downloading the PDF file. If you do not receive such an email within a few minutes then please get in touch and a copy will be emailed to you directly.