The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator
As a former student of the martial arts, I have noticed a curious phenomenon in corporate America that is becoming increasingly troubling to me -- especially among "creatives" who aspire to become masterful brainstorm facilitators. I call it the "Bruce Lee Syndrome" or perhaps more correctly, the "I-Took-a-Karate-Lesson-at-My-Local-Shopping-Mall- and-How-Come-I-Still-Can't-Break-a-Brick-Yet" syndrome?
Well-meaning business movers and shakers expect that learning a new creative thinking technique is all they need to spark brilliance in a roomful of people. Not true. Not even close to being true.June 27, 2016
Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session
Big thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur, Idea Champions' Director of Training, for this timely article on the importance of deferring evaluation during the ideation phase of a brainstorming session.
When Alex Osborn, co-founder of the advertising firm, BBD&O, first came up with the basic concept of brainstorming way back in the 1940's, he stressed that during idea generation "we should hold back criticism until the creative current has had every chance to flow." This principle of "deferring evaluation" of ideas until later has been a bedrock principle of brainstorming ever since. Osborn noted that human beings are of of two minds, what he called the "imaginative" or creative mind and the "judicial" or judging mind. These days, we tend to refer to these in the psych jargon of "right and left brains" today.June 26, 2016
FASCINATION: The DNA of Innovation
I own a huge library of books on innovation. Mostly hardcover. The $27.95 variety with big indexes and forwards by people who make more money than I do.
Some of these books are actually good. Most of them bore me. (I must confess I have a secret desire, whenever I enter a bookstore, to put glue between pages 187 & 188 in all of the new releases just to see if the publishers get any complaints).
The books attempt to describe the origins of innovation. You know, stuff like "the innate human impulse to find a better way" and "the imperative to find a competitive edge." That sort of thing.
Corporate-speak, in other words.June 25, 2016
What Some Consultants See That Leads to Them Getting Fired Or Never Hired in the First Place
"They are playing a game.
They are playing
at not playing a game.
If I show them
I see they are,
I shall break the rules
and they will punish me.
I must play their game,
of not seeing I see the game."
GOT A BRAINSTORM SESSION TO FACILITATE? Remember Yourself!
Big thanks to Idea Champions' Director of Training, Val Vadeoncoeur, for this insightful post on the power of mindset.
One of the biggest blind spots we human beings have, and one of the most common, is forgetting to include ourselves in the calculation. It's almost as if we believe we don't matter or as if our intentions or the manner in which we do something won't play an important role in affecting the outcome. Not true. It does.June 20, 2016
Unresolved Conflict at the Top Produces Chaos in the Middle and the Bottom
A guest post by Idea Champions' newest leadership development consultant, Dr. Barry Gruenberg.
When those in senior leadership positions avoid conflict among themselves, the unresolved conflict ripples throughout the organization and paralyzes action at every level. Key issues go unresolved and the tension at the top pervades the organization. Followers of each of the powerful protagonists must constantly demonstrate their loyalty to their sponsors in their words and deeds; they must scrutinize all that they do to ensure that they are not seen as violating the party line.
Lower level employees are often enlisted to participate in task forces or committees to deal with the various by-products of the unresolved issues.June 18, 2016
The DNA of Sparking Innovation in a Roomful of People, Some of Whom May Be Skeptical or Cranky
Most people think that the ability to be innovative is a mystical state available only to the chosen few.
The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they don't have time and don't like hard work, they reason that innovation just isn't in the cards for them.
But innovation is not a mystical state. It's a natural state -- a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, already are innovative. The only thing is: their natural ability to be innovative is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.June 17, 2016
JUST SAY YES!
Idea Champions is thrilled to welcome Dr. Barry Gruenberg to it's team of consultants, facilitators, and bloggers. Here is Barry's latest pearl of wisdom.
When somebody asks you if you can do something, just say YES. You can always figure out how later. Indeed there is a good chance that what you are being asked for is not what's really needed, anyway.
We often evaluate the value we can add to a situation by imagining that there is someone else who really has the required expertise. We interpret our uncertainty as a testimonial to our inadequacy as compared to the imagined expertise of the presumed, all-knowing other.
Actually, our uncertainty and humility are essential elements of what we bring to the party; they drive our curiosity about what is really going on and help us listen to multiple points of view on the problem without having preconceived ideas about solutions.June 16, 2016
20 Easy Ways to Spark Innovation
Many forward-thinking organizations, these days, are launching all kinds of initiatives to crank up innovation. Their intention is a good one, but their execution is often not. While there's nothing inherently wrong with "organizational initiatives", they often end up being overly complicated, vague, and painfully impersonal. They may look good on paper, but real innovation doesn't happen on paper -- it happens in another dimension -- the human dimension -- the realm of authentic interaction, not theoretical interfacing.
Towards that end, I invite you to consider another, more informal approach -- simple, no-cost ways of radically increasing the odds of the people you work with becoming proactive, inspired, and successful innovators on the job. Here goes:June 14, 2016
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE YOUR COMPANY'S BRAINSTORM SESSIONS? Find Out in 10 Minutes
Whenever I ask clients to describe the quality of their brainstorm sessions, they usually role their eyes, shake their head, and use words like "suck", "boring", or "pitiful." But when I ask them WHY, they don't really know. And they have very few clues about how to turn things around.
We aim to change all that -- at least for the first ten companies who respond to this blog post and request a FREE online Brainstorm Participant poll from Idea Champions -- the simplest way we could think of to help forward thinking organizations get a pulse check on the quality of their in-house brainstorm sessions.
Here's how it works:
1. Email info@ideachampions with "Brainstorm Poll" in the subject line.
2. We'll send you a custom link to our Brainstorm Poll
3. You forward the poll to anyone in your organization who has attended an in-house brainstorming session in the past year.
4. We'll send you the poll results, along with our observations.
5. If you want to find out how we can be of support, we'll talk.
When a Best Practice Is a Worst Practice
I'm a collector of best practices. I like to find out what forward thinking individuals and organizations have done to accomplish extraordinary results.
Sometimes I share these stories in my keynotes or workshops. Invariably, my stock rises when I tell these stories. People think I know stuff. They get giddy. They take notes. They think about how to adapt these best practices to their organization. But then things get weird.
People start becoming satisfied with emulating other people's lives. Instead of thinking up their own best practices, they imitate. Ouch!June 10, 2016
How I Won a Contract from AT&T By Teaching One Man to Juggle
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good story is worth a million. Here's a five-minute story about how the company I co-founded, Idea Champions, won a large contract from AT&T by teaching the Director of Training and Development how to juggle in five minutes.June 07, 2016
HOW TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF THE BOX: A 5-Minute Tutorial
Ever heard the expression "get out of the box?" Of course you have. Ever wonder what the six sides of that so-called box actually are? If not, here's your 5-minute tutorial of the day. Once you're clear about what the sides of the box are, you will be significantly more able to help people (and yourself) get out of it.May 31, 2016
The Syndrome Syndrome and the Rise of the New World Disorder(s)
Here's a fun test for you: If you can read the rest of this paragraph without logging onto Facebook, tweeting, or thinking about crop circles, there's a good chance you do not have ADD, ADHD, or any other recently-identified medical condition.May 27, 2016
The Art of Evelyne Pouget
Do You Have the Courage to Find Out Just How Good (or Not Good) Your Brainstorm Sessions Are?
Many of us wince when we hear the word "feedback", especially when it relates to our own performance. We tend to see feedback as criticism or a veiled personal attack. And for good reason. We've all been on the receiving end of feedback that was anything but complementary -- open season, you might say, on US! Not a pleasant experience.
It's one thing to generate ideas on behalf of your clients. It's quite another to facilitate the process whereby your clients conceive their own ideas. That's what our Conducting Genius training is all about. Below are testimonials from three movers and shakers at Mirrorball (an innovative PR/Communications/Experiential Marketing firm in NYC) who attended a recent brainstorm facilitation training of ours:May 24, 2016
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing
If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.
In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.
There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.May 20, 2016
The Typical Conference Call May 14, 2016
The Amazon Reviews Are In!
In 2015, somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books were published. How many of them are YOU going to read? Probably less than ten. That's why I'm quoting the following people who have reviewed my book on Amazon. I want mine to be one of those ten.
June 2016, May 2016, April 2016, March 2016, February 2016, January 2016, December 2015, November 2015, October 2015, September 2015, August 2015, July 2015, June 2015, May 2015, April 2015, March 2015, February 2015, January 2015, December 2014, November 2014, October 2014, September 2014, August 2014, July 2014, June 2014, May 2014, April 2014, March 2014, February 2014, January 2014, December 2013, November 2013, October 2013, September 2013, May 2013, April 2013, March 2013, February 2013, January 2013, December 2012, November 2012, October 2012, September 2012, August 2012, July 2012, June 2012, May 2012, April 2012, March 2012, February 2012, January 2012, December 2011, November 2011, October 2011, September 2011, August 2011, July 2011, June 2011, May 2011, April 2011, March 2011, February 2011, January 2011, December 2010, November 2010, October 2010, September 2010, August 2010, July 2010, June 2010, May 2010, April 2010, March 2010, February 2010, January 2010, December 2009, November 2009, October 2009, September 2009, August 2009, July 2009, June 2009, May 2009, April 2009, March 2009, February 2009, January 2009, December 2008, November 2008, October 2008, September 2008, August 2008, July 2008, June 2008, May 2008, April 2008, January 2008, December 2007, September 2007, August 2007, July 2007,