January 23, 2010
Go Beyond Your Pet Ideas

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If your company runs brainstorming sessions, know this: too many of them have become veiled opportunities for people to trot out their pet ideas and show them off to others.

Because everyone is hyper-busy these days and real listening is at a premium, people use brainstorming sessions as a way to foist their pre-existing ideas on others.

And while this sometimes leads to results, it doesn't make optimal use of the "two heads are better than one" chance a brainstorm session provides.

The way around this all-too-common phenomenon?

Give people a chance to express their pre-existing ideas at the beginning of a session. Clear the decks. Then use the rest of the time to explore the unknown.

Woof! Woof!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 23, 2010 07:48 AM

Comments

I agree entirely.

We call pet ideas "ghosts", because they have been haunting people's heads for years. (That actually works better in German than in English.)

Clearing the decks we refer to as a "Brain Purge". Only when participants have cleared their pre-existing notions from ther heads are they able to work on new ideas. Until they have been allowed to do so, they are preoccupied with their "ghosts".

Posted by: Graham_Horton [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2010 10:21 AM

Graham: I like "brain purge." Nice. We try to do it in a way that not only gets old ideas purged, but gets them honored and organized in some way. It all depends on how much time we have. If a session is 3 hours or more, we can do that. If not, we usually just make some time for people to express old ideas and be done with them for the time being.

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2010 11:25 AM

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