Nobody knows your business better than you, but for some reason there’s a pull to look for ideas externally. Companies engage advertising agencies and management consultants, because they believe someone else has the answer.
The reality is different. You and your team have the power to solve complex problems by harnessing your creative genius.
Everyone Is Creative
Creativity gets stifled. A variety of factors from school to work to life all come together to convince people that they’re not creative. This notion is false.
Everyone is inherently creative. You may not express your creativity in art or design, but you have the power to generate ideas and solve problems. That’s creativity, and it’s yours to harness.
Teams Generate Better Ideas than Individuals
The lone genius is a powerful storyline. The founder, the creator, or the inventor has a breakthrough idea, and builds a company to exploit their genius.
But that doesn’t really happen.
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn explains, “While it’s true that some people are much better at idea generation than others, it’s always better to have a number of people working on ideas simultaneously. The best idea may come from person, number 89. And you can’t always predict where the good ideas will come from.”
Teams generate more breakthrough ideas, because they build upon ideas. It’s not just one idea that’s remarkable. It’s the process of molding, pushing, and adding to an idea that makes it transformative.
Guidelines to Generating More Ideas
Creativity is a muscle. The more you flex your creative muscles the stronger they get. But you have to start. Pick a challenge, and empower your team to solve it.
Follow these 5 guidelines to get the best ideas from your team:
- Clearly Define the Challenge. What is the problem and why does it matter to the organization? Ideas without context are hard to use.
- Stay Focused. It’s easy to wander and explore tangents when brainstorming. Keep the objective clear, and stay focused on the task at hand.
- Name Your Ideas. Ideas are fragile and easy to break. Give your ideas strength by naming them. A name makes it easier to work with an idea, and it empowers others to build upon them.
- Keep Going. When ideas run dry, restate the problem and encourage more thinking. Often you discover breakthrough ideas in the second and third rounds of ideation.
- Everyone Contributes. Some people may be more vocal and open with sharing, while others require prompting. Be sure everyone has a voice and contributes ideas.
With the right direction, teams can solve problems quickly and brilliantly.
Every organization has an immense reserve of untapped creative talent in its employees. The challenge is to harness and focus it.