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#541: How Well Does the Design of Your Meetings Produce Ideas?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, April 11, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011
Most of my client work and briefing sessions are well-scripted and produce the intended outcomes but are not very productive at generating new ideas.

The one word on which to focus to induce creativity is "design." I infer that you have set up the right process to generate the work products you intend. However, if you want to assemble the right conditions for creativity, take a cue from Steven Johnson's work (and book) on "Where Ideas Come From."

Johnson's premise is that new ideas bubble up over time and as a result of connecting together partially formed ideas. If ideas are protected, isolated, and pressured to "produce results," they are effectively stripped of their creative potential. Ideas, like living organisms, grow best under optimal conditions and often don't do well when forced. In many cases, what we are told are blinding flashes of inspiration are, in reality, ideas that have been percolating for years.

Tip: You would find more idea generation, evolution and maturation from connecting people with ideas often and encouraging them to bring their thoughts, without pressure to produce, to address common challenges. Don't try to force creativity into the same sessions in which your goal is to plan work, document progress and report results.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  collaboration  communication  consulting process  creativity  innovation  knowledge assets  learning  market research  product development 

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Raymond W. Suarez CMC says...
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Steve Johnson's clip on TED is well worth viewing. Thanks, Mark.
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