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  • 1. Beyond Brainstorming: Tools for Better Thinking & Creativity ProductCamp NYC 2010 Erika Bajars, Principal erika@matchstickllc.com or www.linkedin.com/in/erikabajars This presentation copyright © 2010 Matchstick, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • 2. Hi! I’m Erika Bajars: Hats I wear…. Mom, Partner, Daughter Marketer, Entrepreneur Certified Trainer Inventor Teacher Marketing image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • 3. Why should you pay attention to my session? We’ll cover two important topics I’ve been there and have the t-shirt • Running better meetings to make • I’m a certified trainer in The Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™, the tools that better decisions we are demonstrating today. • Offering more creative alternatives to brainstorming • I’ve trained over 100 people in these tools. • I’ve successfully used these methods to solve real business problems – from creating patented ideas to evaluating strategies to naming products and initiatives. The Six Thinking Hats is a registered trademark, and Lateral Thinking is a trademark of the McQuaig Group.
  • 4. Who is Edward de Bono? • Leading authority: creative thinking, innovation, direct teaching of thinking as a skill. • Originator and developer of a variety of toolkits to improve thinking & creativity: The Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™. • Rhodes Scholar and Nobel Prize nominee. • Prolific author: 70+ books.
  • 5. Why are these tools awesome for marketers? • Enable you to get things done faster. • Facilitate doing more with less. • Address creativity on demand. • Produce more truly novel ideas. • Address the common problems associated with meetings. Wrench photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • 6. What are the problems with meetings?
  • 7. What are the problems with meetings? Strong Personalities Dominate the Conversation Quiet people aren’t heard; loudest voice dominates Everyone waits for the boss to speak
  • 8. What are the problems with meetings? People’s Attitudes and Emotions Impact Discussion Overly positive or negative people sway the group
  • 9. What are the problems with meetings? Lack of Focus: Too Much Done at Once People asked to consume, process, judge information, and generate ideas, all at the same time
  • 10. What are the problems with meetings? No Clear Next Steps Left to the meeting facilitator to figure out what to do next Participants leave without ownership of meeting outcomes
  • 11. The Six Thinking Hats: The Cure for the Common Meeting Defined Focus Hats “Unbundle” Thinking Time Limits End With A Plan Solve a specific Switching hats limits ability to Clarify thinking, Next steps are clear problem dominate the conversation stop pontificating, get to the point Parallel thinking considers each aspect in turn
  • 12. How do the Six Hats “Unbundle” Thinking? White Hat: Information, Neutral, Data Red Hat: Feelings, Emotions, Hunches Black Hat: Caution, Risks, Problems Yellow Hat: Benefits, Optimism, Value Green Hat: Growth, Creativity, Ideas Blue Hat: Facilitating, Organizing, Process
  • 13. A simple problem – where to take the group to lunch – illustrates muddled thinking “Mortons is at the Mall” “What about Rosa Mexicano?” “Mortons is too expensive! I’m on a budget” “I don’t eat meat” “I’m not really hungry yet” “What are all the options, here?” “Mexican has something for everyone!”
  • 14. Apply The Hats: Where should we go for lunch? White Hat: What are our options? Yellow Hat: What ideas do we like best? Black Hat: What are the problems with these options? Green Hat: What are solutions to the problems? Blue Hat: Let’s make a decision; next steps Red Hat: How do we feel about this process?
  • 15. Six Hats Applied to Business: Strategy Evaluation Tool
  • 16. Six Hats Applied to Business: Strategy Evaluation Summary
  • 17. Benefits of Using The Hats to Evaluate Strategies • Identify known/unknown info…fast • Quickly evaluate ideas; then separate the • Everyone scores on the same information best and spend lots of time discussing those as a next step • Consider each idea in a balanced way • Look at each idea in a more balanced way • Minimized “pet” projects and let less popular ideas have their day • Quick view – one page / strategy • Provided a tool to defend choices to management
  • 18. Summary: The Six Thinking Hats Applied to Meetings Defined Focus Hats “Unbundle” Thinking Time Limits End With A Plan People are clear on No muddled thinking Hold focus, Next steps what problem is Fully consider ideas get to the point are clear being solved Tempers over optimism Meetings go faster Team fully engaged and pessimism in the process
  • 19. Think about meetings where we as marketers are asked to come up with creative ideas. Could we apply the Six Hats techniques to run better brainstorming meetings?
  • 20. What are the issues with brainstorming? •  No clear focus •  “No idea is a bad idea” (ridiculous) •  No refinement of ideas •  No process to control personalities •  Often, no really new ideas The Six Hats Help Facilitate Better Meetings We have the tools to help teams consume, process, judge information, and generate ideas in a logical sequence. But how do we solve the problem of no really new ideas? What tools are available to make generating ideas more systematic and efficient?
  • 21. Lateral Thinking Tools: Improving “Green Hat” Thinking Lateral Thinking Tools Deliver More Really New Ideas By using lateral thinking tools when you are doing “green hat,” you break out from the same old ideas and really expand your thinking. Like the six hats, the approaches are practical, purposeful, and quickly teachable, even to “novice” groups.
  • 22. Benefits vs. Brainstorming • Tools provide opportunities for true break-through thinking. • Everyone can use them and become more creative with practice! • Discipline of the “Hats” helps overcome brainstorming issues: Defined Focus Set Time Place for Judgment Solve a specific Focused, succinct Yellow, black hats problem discussion after ideation
  • 23. Lateral Thinking: Purposeful Creativity Five tools to improve Creativity: 1 Alternatives look beyond the obvious 2 Focus looks at things from a fresh perspective 3 Challenge the status quo to find new solutions 4 Random Entry generates ideas via unconnected words 5 Provocations stimulate new ideas and move to new solutions
  • 24. Let’s try Random Entry What are some new ways to make our workplace more environmentally friendly? Image: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • 25. Lateral Thinking Applied to Business Background Several highly experienced engineers formed a new consulting firm and called it “NPC” (New Product Consultants) so that they could get started with clients. Knowing that they wanted to grow their business, they engaged Matchstick to create a more polished brand image. Approach Using the Lateral Thinking tools, we came up with a new name, Fulcrum, which captured the essence of the unique value that NPC brings to their clients. This concept of “leverage” based on their experience is well- known to their engineering audience.
  • 26. Final Thoughts on Lateral thinking • The process is purposeful and systematic versus random • The pace is consistently fast-paced; no dwindling energy • The results are prolific, and the process ensures no good idea is left behind • The tools result in truly novel ideas – very different than the results of brainstorming • Anyone can increase creativity by learning and practicing these tools tools • Provides a solution to “creativity on demand” – one trained facilitator can lead a session and get results fast
  • 27. Thank you! http://www.matchstickllc.com/creativity Matchstick, LLC 121 Hawkins Place #122 Boonton, NJ 07005 P 973.753.0383 E erika@matchstickllc.com www.linkedin.com/in/erikabajars www.matchstickllc.com