I have long said that just one mind (person) has a difficult time in being a creative force. When two minds (people) get together, new ideas are generated, or sparked, from the discussions. However, I was reminded that there is a discipline that needs to be in place under any brainstorming scenario.
I had the opportunity to be present when Mr. Kenneth Johnson from the Riverland Community College (Owatonna) talked about the discipline needed when taking on any ideation, or brainstorming, session. He had broken his discussion into two parts, with the latter part something I have used countless times:
This is an acronym I was not familiar with, but was presented as a way to “look at an idea” to help generate different ideas.
- S = Substitute (come up with an idea that is a substitute)
- C = Combine (come up with an idea that combines the subject with another)
- A = Adapt (come up with an idea by adapting a process from an unrelated item)
- M = Maximize or Minimize ( come up with an idea that modify’s the subject idea)
- P = Put to another use (can the subject item be used in another way?)
- E = Eliminate (as in “Lean”, analyze the process to eliminate steps)
- R = Reverse (come up with an idea by reversing the process)
II. Brainstorming Commandments
When going into any brainstorming session, these rules are non-negotiable and help create the environment for idea generation. In the meeting I had attended with Ken, his approach was to just let the discussion “boil” awhile and when it dies down, he went on to another subject. This seemed to work well, however, I have had success in in just continuing to go around the table with the person having the ability to “pass” if they didn’t have a particular idea at that time.
Regardless of the method, here are the rules that need to be followed:
- Do not judge
- Reserve comments/opinions
- Do not edit
- Avoid the impulse to expand the idea (i.e. take it to it’s execution level)
- Don’t worry
- Don’t look backward or second guess
- Don’t lose focus
- Don’t sap energy (yours and others)
- Don’t compare
- Don’t make fun at others expense
My thanks to Kenneth for this reminder and hopefully it will be helpful to those that read this article. If you want to talk further about, please feel free to contact me. Who knows, we might come up with a new idea?
In thinking about it, factoring is one of those ideas that is not thought about a lot but can be a “eureka” thought under certain circumstances. Contact us for more information.