Newsletter – Why brainstorming does not work!
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As we are now heading towards the holiday season many readers will be winding down. Hopefully, I can provide a little entertainment and some useful titbits in this rather odd period of the year.
At this time of year retailers are all desperate for our business. Keep an eye open for good examples of customer service, and good ideas generally that you could adopt. I saw some excellent examples of how to treat a customer at a high end candle shop and also a jewellers. At the opposite end of the scale, I noticed some very poor examples at a large chain store. Definitely no Magic & Sparkle there!
Would you like to achieve more with less effort? Yes really. Well a spot of fluffy thinking is what you need. Get in touch to find out how a spot of alternative thinking could help you and your organisation.
How many of you saw the subject of this email and thought ‘What is he on about, of course it works!’. Well for dramatic effect I did leave out ‘a lot of the time’.
Have you had this experience?
How many times has somebody summoned you to a meeting room using the words ‘ let’s go and brainstorm the solution to this problem?’ And how many time has it not worked very well or maybe not at all? And when it did not work did you put it down to the facilitator, or perhaps the problem was too hard, or maybe you just did not give it long enough?
Well, there is a reason for this, you were most likely using the wrong technique! Often we think we know what the problem is when in fact all we know is the situation in which the problem occurs. So, we have to determine the problem or possibly identify a range of potential problems. Next, we must pick THE problem or the most critical.
Picking the right technique
Having done this there might be a range of possible solutions out of which we must pick one to work with right now. Do you see a pattern emerging here? I have briefly outlined four stages which have the format diverge/converge/diverge/converge.
You will not be surprised to learn that one of the ways of classifying creative thinking techniques is as divergent or convergent. Other classifications can be group/solo working, exploring, reframing etc.
Anyway, if you use a technique incorrectly in the wrong phase it is likely not to work very well (or at all).
Let’s return to Brainstorming. This is a divergent technique as it is intended to generate a number of ideas or solutions. It will therefore not work when you are trying to converge i.e. focus on one specific issue.
So when you are summoned to a meeting room to generate solutions to a problem you will generate something but it is likely that you will not have identified what the problem actually is so the solutions will not fit very well.
I have a little black book with around 144 of these techniques, so if you would like to give this sort of thinking a try, please get in touch and I will find something tailored to your needs.
Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all readers everywhere,
Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?
Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.