What follows is some juicy feedback we received from Blue State Digital, a client of ours who participated in brainstorm facilitation training:
"The three-day Conducting Genius training was engaging, fun and informative. I feel empowered as a facilitator and confident in my skills and ability. Mitch and Val were fantastic teachers -- I was sad when it was over!"
"We did the three-day version of Conducting Genius, and I wish it could've been even longer! By far the most fun, useful, productive, and engaging training I've ever attended."
"It felt like summer camp for creative nerds."
"After the session, I felt energized and empowered -- ready to lead a brainstorm, boss a meeting, and infuse my work with more creativity and thought. Val and Mitch are magicians -- and they passed some of that magic on to us."
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If your job requires you to lead meetings, brainstorming sessions, or problem solving gatherings of any kind, chances are good that most of the people you come in contact with are left-brain dominant: analytical, logical, linear folks with a passion for results and a huge fear that the meeting you are about to lead will end with a rousing chorus of kumbaya.
Not exactly the kind of mindset conducive to breakthrough thinking.
Do not lose heart, oh facilitators of the creative process. Even if you find yourself in a room full of 10,000 left brainers, there are tons of ways to work with this mindset in service to bringing out the very best of the group's collective genius:
Click here for a very lucid description of one of the most popular brainstorming techniques on planet Earth. Easy to remember. Easy to use. Easy to facilitate. A great way to spark creative thinking in your future ideation sessions. Brought to you by the extraordinary Chuck Frey -- long time aficionado of creative thinking, innovation, and business growth.
One of the inevitable things you will hear at a brainstorming session is "there are no bad ideas." Not true. There are plenty of bad ideas. Nazism, for instance. Arena football. Bow ties.
What well-meaning "keep hope alive" brainstorming lovers really mean is this: Even bad ideas can lead to good ideas if the idea originators are committed enough to extract the meaning from the "bad".
Do you think that War and Peace was written in one sitting? No way. There were plenty of earlier drafts that were horrid, but eventually led to the final outcome.
The key? Finding the value in what seems to be a "bad idea" and then using that extracted value as a clue or catalyst for further exploration. The following technique, excerpted from Awake at the Wheel, shows you how...
We could tell you how awesome our brainstorm facilitation training is, but we're not sure you would believe us. So here's what one of our favorite clients has to say about it -- the fabulous folks from Mirrorball. And, if you don't believe them (since they are one of our favorite clients), how about these people?
"At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Mitch Ditkoff's ability to quickly and effectively teach my colleagues and me how to facilitate brainstorming sessions changed the future of our business. We went from being viewed by our clients as their agency to being respected as essential teammates that help them arrive at BIG IDEAS. I can't wait to learn more from Idea Champions. So many good things to come!"-- Mandy Kalajian, Vice President
If your company is like most companies we have worked with, its brainstorming sessions leave something to be desired. Yes, ideas are bandied about and, yes, coffee is consumed and jokes are made. And, yes, people incessantly check their email under the table. THIS JUST IN! Brainstorming sessions can be a lot more powerful than that.
To goose you on your way, here are four brief blog posts and a video of ours on the art and science of brainstorming. If you could use some more help in this arena, we are available. Our Conducting Genius training is top of the line. Click here if you want to get the ball rolling. Or leave a message for us: 845.679.1066
The DNA of Brainstorming and the Power of Three
Why Nothing Happens After a Brainstorming Session
Why Leaders Shouldn't Lead Brainstorming Sessions
The 10 Personas of an Effective Brainstorm Facilitator
VIDEO: Preparing the Ground
Every brainstorm session you will ever facilitate or attend, like any good movie you will ever see, can be divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. No matter what the topic, who's in the room, or how stale the muffins, you will cycle through the same three phases again and again. How well you will cycle through these phases is another story.
How many times have you participated in a brainstorming session, only to be underwhelmed by the utter lack of follow up? Unfortunately, in most businesses, this is often the norm. Here's why:
1. The output of the session is underwhelming.
2. No one has taken the time, pre-brainstorm, to consider follow-up.
3. No criteria is established to evaluate output.
4. No next steps are established at the end of the session.
5. No champions are identified.
Whenever I ask my clients to tell me about the quality of their company's brainstorming sessions, they usually roll their eyes and grumble, noting several of the phenomena below.
Recognize any of them in your organization?
1. Lame facilitation
2. Wrong problem statement
3. Unmotivated participants
4. Hidden (or competing) agendas
5. Insufficient diversity of participants
6. Addiction to the status quo
7. Lack of clear ground rules
8. Sterile meeting space
9. No transition from "business as usual"
10. Lack of robust participation
Busting the alluring lie that a good idea is all it takes to be more innovative. Peter Drucker used to say, “Good intentions don’t move mountains; Bulldozers do!” I’d like to modify that by swapping the word “ideas” for “intentions.” Anathema! Ideas are the mother’s milk of innovation, right? Not so quick; hear me out. ...