Here's a simple and effective brainstorm technique I like, entitled a "New Point-Of-View." Based on the principles of metaphors (using ideas from one area to solve problems in another), this creative technique takes solutions common in other occupations and transfers them to your field.
How To Use It
State the problem that is preventing the objective or outcome from being achieved, or the opportunity you want to leverage.
For example: “How do we get employees to notify the head office when an event might turn into an issue or crisis?” (Or, re-frame the problem/opportunity, such as “What early-warning or preventative devices could we use internally to alert the company of a potential issue or crisis?”)
Select random, unrelated occupations to determine how they might solve the problem or leverage the opportunity.
A politician uses public polls, a chef uses a clock timer, a lifeguard uses flags, a conductor uses a baton, a policeman uses a speed-camera. How can you “bend” these devices to fit an internal communications campaign?
I originally saw this on Denny McCorkle's I Geek for Creativity blog, and had to share. Off for Memorial Day and my mother's 80th birthday party. Have a great holiday weekend. AE
It's not easy getting an audience member's attention. They have plenty to distract them. They physically bring their distractions with them - like cell/mobile phones, laptops, iPads, etc. They mentally bring into the conference room all of the tasks lying back at their desks.
As presenters, we complicate further any potential engagement by doing things to distract them. Bad presentation skills is chief among the list, but a lack of passion and excitement can be just as dissuasive in ensuring your audience never hears or remembers a thing you say.
And yet, it’s also easy to engage an audience. All you have to do is tell a good story.
Stories are as old as the world itself. They were the first (and remain) the primary way people pass down their culture, experiences and expertise to others. Stories inhibit everything important to us. What are the world’s religions, if not stories? Stories are how children learn to talk and read, and are arguably the first time they tap their natural imaginations. We tell stories at virtually every important event in our life. In fact, we are our stories to paraphrase the anonymous quote, "Life is nothing more than a series of really good stories."
A friend of mine who knows how pathological I am about time sent me this quote, which I've since learnt is also Segal's Law. "A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
It was a joke about how many clocks and watches I have. But the day I received it, I also saw in its wisdom a point about information overload.
Between a client assignment and two brainstorms I helped colleagues faciiltate over the past few days, I've realized again how teams are remarkably good at gathering information, but less effective at figuring out what all that downloaded/emailed/photocopied information means.
The flow from data to information to insights to ideas is a fairly easily process to understand. The problem is helping people understand a lot of information does not necessarily translate into action. In fact, it usually translates into in-action or paralysis.
For those of you who liked the SCAMPER exercises, here are more details, questions and synonyms for you to try.
S – Substitute. Replace or change components, attributes, elements, purpose, materials or people. How can you replace one element (perhaps more) with something else? Who or what else? Other materials? Other ingredients? Other steps? Other places, or approaches? Another tone of voice or positioning?
In his book Applied Imagination (1953), Alex Osborn outlined a series of challenge questions about a product or service to stimulate possible solutions, insights, perspectives or directions. The questions were grouped around a common active verb – such as Substitute or Adapt – so it was named the Osborn Verbal Checklist.
In the early 1990s, Bob Eberle, an author of books to increase creativity in children, simplified the original nine groups of questions into the clever anagram SCAMPER.
How To Use It
To begin the exercise, state the problem that is preventing the objective or outcome from being achieved.
Next, select any of the seven areas, and post questions to yourself or to a team (like a brainstorm) to challenge your thinking, inspire a new direction, and shape new ideas.
Here’s the original seven SCAMPER groups of questions.
S - Substitute What else? Who else? Other people or roles? What other components, attributes, elements? Other materials or ingredients? Other approaches or steps? Other places? Other tone of voice or positioning?
C - Combine Blending elements, assemblies or services? Combine ideas or purposes? Merge units? Forge a new ensemble or assortment? A new alloy?
Last year, I wrote 11 posts on some of the most common mistakes people make as they prepare for brainstorming. Recently I compiled the individual posts into an eBook (OK, a PDF - but sort of the same thing). They're available at the links below, in either 8x11 and A4 formats.
To make it as user-friendly as possible, I've added links inside the documents to other posts, as well as to posts of friends and colleagues speaking on similar or related topics. There's also a general link to my recently updated website.
As I said, the downloads are in PDF format. If you didn't know it already, press CTRL + L on PCs to read it on screen and make the hyperlinks active.
Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. I hope you enjoy the posts again, or for the first time.
Two recent post have relevance to better communications: using PowerPoint and Pinterest more effectively.
Speaking of Pinterest, I've gone through over the past weekend and posted all of this blog's artwork, plus a lot of graphic posters about creativity and other topic related to communications. In the next few weeks, I also hope to put up as many of the visual cues I use in brainstorms. So stayed tuned.
I must say, it's not hard to see why it's the fourth fastest growing sites on the web. Between it and Tumblr, I love to trawl through the images - especially travel and good design. If you're there, look me up, and let me know about your boards too.