Idea generation techniques

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http://www.inventium.com.au/ …

http://www.inventium.com.au/

Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as a consumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had put her through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved. However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field, she realised that all these training companies had done was rip off Edward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as their own. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.

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  • 1. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Inventium http://www.inventium.com.au/ Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as a consumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had put her through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved. However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field, she realised that all these training companies had done was rip off Edward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as their own. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.
  • 2. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Amantha had always been a bit of a science geek and kept reading the jargon-filled academic journals long after leaving university. She noticed that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of studies being conducted around the world that looked at what variables increased a person’s ability to think more creatively and a company’s ability to innovate. However, she realised that there was a great divide between this great research that was being done in the world of academia, and what was actually getting used in the ‘real world’. So in 2007, she had the idea of starting a company that applied the science of psychology and neurology to boosting creativity and innovation - something that had never been done before. Since Inventium opened its doors, Amantha and her team, have helped literally thousands of people across Australia, the United States, the UK, Europe, Africa and New Zealand improve their ability to generate great ideas.
  • 3. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 What Our Brains Can Do Do you know that your brain is only 2% of your weight and consumes 20% of your body’s energy? Indeed our brain is very powerful, in fact more powerful than our muscles. A wise person can change the whole world, but why is it that a company with so many smart employees still finds it hard to succeed? Every kind of business requires employees that can generate efficient creative thinking techniques that will help the company adapt to changes and create products that will meet the demands of their clients. Generating ideas is a process and there are so many firms nowadays that offer guidance to various business establishments so that they will gain the maximum benefits of the process. Many people do not know the certain preparations and tools for this productive method and these are a few of the reasons why they need professional help. You must understand that your brain cannot create good ideas all the time. It always depends on its condition and the condition of your body as well. It is hard to generate productive thoughts once you are mentally weary. Acquiring a fresh and active mind is simple. Enough sleep can greatly help. Just like your body, you cannot run more if you are very tired. Even machines need rest. If you sleep well, the brain can process the information well. It helps your brain function and develop efficiently. When you are in the process of generating tactics for your business, make sure to let go of other concerns. Take a bath and relax before the task since it takes away stress and pressure. Never hesitate to think freely as well since it expands your capacity to imagine wonderful things. Thinking outside the box enhances creativity. If you are a business owner, you can encourage your employees to read books and magazines that have nothing to do with your industry. When they are introduced to the variations and possibilities in life, they are able to think flexibly, allowing creativity in their minds to flow. Ask them to list down all their generated thoughts so that they will never forget them.
  • 4. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Keep in mind that small and simple ideas can make your company great. Nothing begins big since creating ideas is a simple task as well. Focus on how you can make a difference when introducing and providing your products and services to people. Think like a customer and know what you want for a certain product. Meeting the needs and demands of your clients can be very daunting if you cannot connect to them. It will help you a lot if your company has a website and a certain webpage where your previous clients can post their feedbacks. Invest on innovation training and you will see positive changes in your employees, products, and services. Understand that it is not only your equipment that needs upgrading, your employees as well. Teach them how to use their brains efficiently for your success. How to overcome “Team-think” Most of us have been a victim of groupthink at some stage in our working lives. If you have been sitting with the same team for the past year, you’ve probably also become a victim of ‘team-think’. This happens a lot in companies that deal with similar problems for their various clients. I work with several advertising and media agencies and often the key issue for many of their clients is generating awareness for their products. When the agency tries to generate ideas on how to do this, the strategies tend to revolve around the same few media channels, such as TV, print and outdoor campaigns, or creating a viral video and posting it on YouTube. Research suggests that teams which have been together for a while develop a set of entrenched assumptions, ways of doing things and set patterns of behaviour. The good news is there is a cure: introducing a new member to the team. Studies show that when a new member joins a team, existing assumptions, attitudes and behaviours are far less likely to be activated. The new person triggers new thoughts and behaviours.
  • 5. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 While it can be tempting to leave harmonious teams alone, rotating employees around to different teams regularly, say every 6–8 months, can considerably enhance creativity. When I run idea-generation sessions for clients, I almost always insist they invite people who do not work for their company. I encourage them to include as diverse a mix of people as possible. For example, in one workshop for a national postal services organisation, we had the artistic director of a circus troupe, a creative director from an advertising agency, an 18-year-old university student and a TV host. Needless to say, the ideas generated in the workshop were wonderfully varied. So, rather than try to think creatively on your own, try to partner up with someone you don’t normally work with. Use them as a springboard for fleshing out your ideas and let them go in directions you wouldn’t if you were working on your own. Most importantly, listen to their input and be open to going in directions you would not normally. Creativity loves boundaries Letting your mind wander wherever it needs to, starting with a blank canvas and being free of rules are all considered conducive to creativity? However, the latest psychological research has shown the complete opposite. In one study, a group of adults was asked to make a construction using Lego. One group was given no constraints; they were told that they could build whatever they liked. The other group had several constraints placed upon them; they were told that their construction must contain no right-angled joints and they could only use one kind of brick. The constructions built by the ‘constraints’ group were judged to be significantly more creative and lateral than those in the ‘free expression’ group. So why does this happen? When completing tasks, we typically draw on what we know rather than seeking new ideas and opinions.
  • 6. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Often, information retrieval becomes automated in our brains because it is useful and saves us having to come up with new solutions every time we face a problem. In other words, when we are assigned a task to complete, our brains switch into autopilot if it is a familiar problem. However, this autopilot mode dramatically impairs performance when we have to think of completely novel ideas. Constraining the way we think forces us to search for new and creative ways of completing the task or solving the problem. In a paradoxical way, putting constraints on our tasks lifts the constraints on our thought processing. Here are a couple of tips to help apply these findings: - Try to avoid taking on tasks that are open-ended and overly broad. If you find yourself in this situation, challenge yourself to apply a constraint to the task to make yourself perform more creatively. - Whenever you feel yourself going into autopilot, ask your boss to apply a constraint to the task (or do it yourself).