SlideShare a Scribd company logo
// 1
Everything you need to pluck fantastic thinking out of thin air (…well almost).
Ideas
Generation
Index
What is an idea? 3
What is ideas generation? 4
What it takes to be a good facilitator 5
When would you use this process to generate ideas? 6
What do you need to get the ball rolling? 7
>> Creating a climate conducive to creative thinking
>> Some people to help with the thinking
>> A plan
What does a good brainstorm look like? 13
>> Introduction and warm up
>> Problem crystallisation
>> Brain dump
>> Creative brainstorming
>> Creative development
>> Theming
>> Evaluation
>> Objective mapping and wrap up
After the event 23
// 3
Remember:“The real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in
having new eyes.”
M Proust
What is an idea and how do you know if you’ve had one?
According to Koestler it’s:
>> “Seeing what everyone else has seen but thinking what no-one else
has thought.”
>> “Something so obvious … you wonder why you didn’t think of
it yourself.”
>> “Something understood, accepted, but conveyed in a novel, unique
or unexpected way.”
>> “A combination of things previously un-combined.”
What is an idea?
// 4
Contrary to popular boardroom mythology it is not a process which starts
and ends with a flip chart, marker pen and six people randomly talking
over one another. A successful ideas generation session is more likely to be
a structured process which requires:
>> Preparation
A good ideas generation session must be
well planned in advance for best results.
>> Participation
You can only get so far on your own.
Diversity and sometimes a little friction
can generate the most dynamic outcomes
if well managed.
>> Facilitation
A good facilitator is someone who drives
the debate. The need to be able to listen
and channel discussions to a mutually
consensual conclusion is paramount.
>> Concentration
The facilitator’s role is the hardest of all;
it’s about more than taking notes on a flip
chart (see above). You have to think
and encourage others to think.
>> Collaboration
The process is part industry, part journey.
The facilitator’s role is to build momentum
and drive consensus towards a working
output which has the group’s support.
You have to work hard to generate ideas.
The ideas won’t come if the planning process
stops once the refreshments form has been stuck
to the fridge. N.B. Coffee and pastries are not
statistically proven to improve the quality of
output, but the hypothesis is still being tested.
What is
Ideas Generation?
// 5
Interpretation skills
>> Interpreting information.
>> Interpreting how people feel.
>> Interpreting loose thoughts into
tangible outputs.
Management skills
>> The ability to manage a room full of
people. Shape processes around the
group and its needs to ensure that the
objectives of the session are met.
An unhappy group will not be
productive.
Resourcefulness
>> Sometimes they just don’t get it.
It’s usually your fault if they don’t.
Be patient and try something different
until they do.
A good sense of humour
>> Liberates the spirit. A great tonic.
A great tool. Use it to your advantage
wherever you can.
Organisational skills
>> The ability to plan and anticipate the
programme of events well in advance
as well as foreseeing obstacles to
thinking, anticipating the flow of
events and developing strategies to
deal with them before they happen.
>> The ability to organise group thoughts
as you progress through the session.
>> The ability to organise people and
anticipate their actions.
Listening skills
>> The ability to hear not only what is
being said but also what is meant by
what is being said.
>> Ensuring that everything is heard
and captured.
Processing skills
>> The ability to process information
quickly and effectively into a format
which is easy to understand and
work with.
What it takes
to be a good facilitator
// 6
Brainstorming is a means to an end not an end in itself. Firstly you need a
clear understanding of the issue or problem which needs to be resolved.
Don’t use an ideas generation
session to:
>> Prove a point.
>> Analyse and develop a linear process.
>> Attempt to resolve technical issues
which are beyond the professional
capabilities of the team.
>> Generate ideas speculatively
(when you don’t have a clear
objective).
>> Plug a gap when you don’t know what
else to do.
Ideas generation sessions are typically
used to:
>> Deconstruct and re-build brand
architecture.
E.g. What does my brand stand for in
this market place and which direction
does it need to grow?
>> Build brand portfolios and develop
brand extension platforms.
E.g. Where do my brand’s strengths
lie and how can these be married to
market opportunities to develop a
stronger portfolio of products?
>> Build NPD and develop product
innovation.
E.g. How can we use existing
infrastructure and technology to
diversify into other areas?
>> Generate corporate and brand visions.
E.g. Where do we want to be in
5 years’ time?
>> Develop customer insight and
propositions.
E.g. Who are our customers and what
motivates them about our offering?
>> Stretch creative thinking.
E.g. What do we believe are our core
strengths and how could we
communicate them effectively to our
target audience?
Fast tracking ideas and rapid buy in.
With the right people in attendance the session
should also work as an effective means of
taking key decision makers on a journey which
leads to consensus and an agreed forward
direction, which can be acted on immediately.
When would you use this
process to generate ideas?
// 7
1. Climate conducive to creative thinking
2. Some people to help with the thinking
3. A plan
Consider:
>> A neutral environment, where
possible. If this is not possible, try to
create an environment which allows
freedom of movement. If people are
free to move freely they will think
more freely. It also gives you, the
facilitator, more scope to take charge
of, direct and motivate the group.
>> An environment which is conducive to
the length of time the session is
planned to run for. Thinking is tiring
work and being locked in an airless
room with no natural light for hours on
end will not yield the most productive
of outputs.
>> An environment which could act as
stimulus. E.g. a brainstorm on lager
promotions could benefit more from
being held in a bar than in a
boardroom.
>> Appropriately spaced comfort and
refreshment breaks, for your benefit,
as well as that of the participants.
Remember, the human brain has a
limited capacity for concentration –
especially with a full bladder!
Avoid:
>> Boardrooms.
>> Small spaces.
>> Expensive airless rooms in hotels with
baize table cloths, squash and Fox’s
Glacier mints.
Create a climate conducive to
creative thinking
Creative problem solving works best when
people feel confident about themselves,
and feel that they can work well with
one another. A comfortable, relaxed
environment and a compatible atmosphere
will put people at ease. People will generally
think their most creative thoughts when
relaxed and enjoying themselves.
What do you need
to get the ball rolling?
// 8
Consider:
>> As broad a mix of people as possible.
Having all your creative minds cut
from the same cloth could limit
diversity of thought.
>> Identifying where problems might
arise with diversity of status or over–
zealous personalities and dealing with
the problems before they arise
(see coping strategies below).
>> Splitting people into smaller working
groups as soon as possible if you feel
that the group is not gelling as
a whole.
>> Allowing people to dress casually, or
having the event off site, if there is a
broad range or ranks in attendance.
Avoid:
>> Inviting people who you know to be
negative or disruptive unless you
absolutely have to, or they have an
exceptionally creative mind in which
instance you would develop strategies
to manage and channel their output.
>> Small spaces.
>> Huge differences in status, if at all
possible.
Some people to help with the
thinking
A creative thought doesn’t care where it
comes from, so principally the outline
criteria for spotting a creative mind is that
it’s available to attend the session and willing
to come along. The optimum number of
creative minds for constructive ideas
generation is typically between 8 and 12 to
maximise the flow of ideas without
minimising the facilitator’s ability to control
and channel the thinking. It is also worth
considering that it will be difficult to
introduce break out groups with less than
8 people.
Who you choose is up to you. Often stake
holders will want to be involved. These can
be clients or senior members of staff. Their
presence can have an adverse effect on the
group’s equilibrium as participants may feel
less comfortable expressing their true
feelings in front of them. We appreciate that
this cannot necessarily be avoided but it
should be noted and appropriate strategies
should be deployed to defuse any potential
disruption of the group dynamic.
(see coping strategies below).
For specific projects it may be advisable to
consider introducing outsiders into the mix.
These could be consumers or experts in an
appropriate field to broaden the range of
creative thinking. They could be clients, or
people from other departments not linked
to marketing.
// 9
Coping strategies
1. The chairman wants to take part:
>> Ensure that you have an open plan area within which to work. This will automatically help
eliminate physical barriers making people feel more at ease with one another.
>> Consider role play which takes people out of their day to day roles. Eg. in an ideas
generation session about promoting lager, you may ask the chairman to role play an 18-24
year old lager drinker from Chatham whilst a colleague plays bar tender.
>> For those who feel that role play with the chairman might be a career suicide bridge too
far, there is always Edward De Bono’s six thinking hats which is a more accepted form
of role play in business. (www.deBonoOnline.com)
2. The overly opinionated person:
>> Humour them, but then use humour to put them in their place. A heckler can never get
one over on the comedian because ultimately the comedian is centre stage. The same rule
applies here. The facilitator is centre stage (usually standing up when participants are
sitting down). Use your power to work the group.
>> Giving the over opinionated person something to do should help. Take them slightly out
of the main body of the group and give them a specific task, such as helping with taking
notes or parking issues which need to be discussed further, outside the scope of the
current session.
>> Put them in charge of the smooth running of the process, which includes time keeping
and having the final call on whether the issue in hand has been debated in full, and if it’s
time to move on. Of course, if the person in question is relatively junior and of little
consequence to the proceedings you could just tell them to shut up!
3. The overly negative person:
>> Beat them at their own game. Brainstorms are about freedom of thinking. There is no such
thing as a bad idea (within reason). Making the most negative person in the group in
charge of spotting negative behaviour and punishing it accordingly usually does the trick.
Punishments could be anything from having to wear a dunce’s hat to having a sponge ball
thrown at them.
>> Beat them at their own game by allowing them to play devil’s advocate at designated
times during the session. This gives them the opportunity to voice their negative opinions
in a controlled environment and on your terms. You will typically find that they tend to be
less vocal once they have been given centre stage.
// 10
4. The overly quiet person:
>> There is always one quiet one. This is not too much of a problem if the session splits into
break out groups. You will find that the smaller the group, the greater that person’s
contribution.
>> Consider exercises which allow people to write things down in the form of a secret ballot,
which can then be read out and discussed further.
>> It is usually discomfort and shyness which is at the root of quietness in group sessions.
A good team building warm up should help to eliminate this at source. You will find this
especially important if the group you are working with are all relatively junior or
predominantly from non–marketing related departments, and therefore have little
experience of attending these kinds of sessions.
5. Dealing with difficult issues:
>> It is very likely that during a long session issues will arise which are outside of the scope of
agreed objectives. Whether of interest to the group or not, they are still likely to cause an
unwanted delay.
The best way to deal with this is:
>> Firstly, to defer to the problem owner who will make a judgement call as to whether to
pursue the issue or not.
>> Secondly, ‘PARK’ the issue. This must involve physically writing the issue down in a visible
place for all to see. This ensures that the group has acknowledged that the issue is of
importance and that it will be dealt with at the end of the session.
// 11
1. Understanding the objectives:
>> Before embarking on any ideas brainstorm, you need to be clear what the objectives are.
These need to be clear in your mind so that you can plan an effective session which
delivers against expectations. They also need to be re-iterated and approved by key stake
holders in advance of the session, as well as those participating in the session to ensure
that everyone is clear about what the session is expected to deliver.
2. Understand and prepare for your role as facilitator:
>> Your role as the facilitator should be to encourage thinking with a view to ultimately
generating ideas which meet the objectives set for the session and have the support of the
majority of the group. This is no easy task and requires strength, tenacity and
quick responses.
>> Your role is to think of everything so that nothing gets in the way of ideas generation and
to allow the participants to relax in the knowledge that someone else is in control.
>> Your role is also to energise, create an atmosphere where anything goes and ultimately to
drive the session to a conclusion: to get a result. It’s about a lot more than writing things
up on the flip chart!
>> Remember that once the objectives have been agreed, it is your session. You are in
charge. Set ground rules and make sure people stick to them.
>> Remember to leave enough time to do all this. As a general rule of thumb it will take as
long to prepare for an ideas generation session as it will to deliver it.
The ground rules:
>> Positivity not negativity.
Ideas generation is about generating ideas. Evaluation of those ideas comes much
later in the process. There is no room for evaluation during brainstorming, especially
if it’s negative. Don’t waste unnecessary time on debate.
There is a time and place for debate. During a brainstorm is neither. There may well
be issues which need to be discussed, but not at the expense of positive free
thinking. Debates need to be nipped in the bud and parked for debate at another
pre–agreed time (see dealing with difficult issues).
A Plan
As with holidays and weddings, the best way to ensure that things go without a hitch is to
plan well in advance and prepare for every eventuality.
Here’s what you need to do:
>> Understand the objectives.
>> Understand and prepare for your role as facilitator.
>> Plan what you intend to do.
>> Prepare for the day.
>> Plan for contingency (what you are going to do if what you had first
intended doesn’t quite work out).
// 12
>> Quantity over quality.
Ideas generation is about quantity. Theming and evaluation will whittle the ideas
down and prioritise their relevance and importance in meeting the objectives.
>> What you say goes.
It’s your show. Your job is the meet the objectives. What you say goes.
3. Plan what you intend to do:
>> A good ideas generation session needs as much preparation time as the time it takes to
deliver the session. For example, a half day workshop will, on average, require half a day’s
preparation time. Preparation will typically include:
>> a full breakdown of objectives which the session is expected to deliver against.
>> a full breakdown of attendees and their respective roles (see preparation).
>> a full breakdown of what you are going to cover, along with how long each
section is expected to take.
>> details of all exercises and projective techniques which are going to be deployed
to deliver the session.
>> part prepared answers to act as stimulus to get the ball rolling.
>> gathering all materials and other essentials which you will require to run the
session, including stimulus.
(See Appendix 1 for a sample workshop preparation sheet.)
4. Prepare for the day:
>> Depending on the subject matter, and time allowed to put the session together, it may be
useful to do some pre-workshop research alongside preparation of stimulus.
This could involve:
>> Desk research; to give yourself and others ammunition and a more solid and
informed platform from which to launch ideas on the day.
>> Stakeholder interviews; to get to the bottom of what the real issues are
surrounding the problem and where the real opportunities lie.
>> Think pieces; putting together controversial views which should ignite and
polarise thinking with a view to generating more interesting ideas from
the group.
>> Setting homework; forcing participants to think in advance of the session about
certain issues, considerations and aligned subjects, which will provide useful
insights and ignite discussion.
>> All these preparation techniques can be managed and run by the facilitator and his/her
team or shared amongst the group. Ultimately their objective is to act as stimulus which
will the make the session more productive and rewarding.
5. Plan for contingency:
>> Things hardly ever go according to plan. Always have a contingency plan to try as an
alternative if selected techniques do not yield the required results.
// 13
Introduce yourself to the group and explain your role. Then allow all participants to introduce
themselves which gives everyone a chance to see who they will be working with whilst giving you
a chance to put a face to a name. A fun way of doing introductions is to incorporate them into the
warm up (see below).
A good warm up is essential in setting a good tone for the session. A good warm up incorporating
collaboration and humour should relax participants and excite them about the rest of the session.
Where you pitch the warm up exercises will depend on a combination of factors including the
nature of the audience, the venue and your own personal preferences.
* A full size chart can be found at the end of this document (Appendix 2).
A typical ideas generation session is diamond shaped.*
Typical roles you might want to assign
are as follows:
Problem owner
>> Typically the most senior person on
the project. Their role is to be the final
arbiter on issues caught in discussion.
Time keeper
>> Usually the facilitator’s aide. Their role
is to ensure that the session does
not overrun.
Negativity buster
>> Usually assigned to the person you
believe will be the most destructive or
negative in the session. Their role will
be to spot negative behaviour and
punish it.
Scribe
>> Depending on the nature of the
session you may or may not need
more than one scribe. Sometimes it
may be useful to give scribing duties
to a potentially disruptive person to
give them something else to
think about.
[1] Introduction and warm up
A good introduction and warm up are key
foundation stones to a good ideas
generation session. In order for ideas to flow
freely, participants need to feel comfortable
and relaxed. As with any good party, it is the
host’s responsibility to make sure this
happens. You do this by first introducing the
session and then explaining clearly
to people:
>> Why they are there.
>> What they are there to do and assign
roles if required (see below).
>> A broad outline of the session.
>> The objectives (and make sure that you
achieve buy–in here).
What does a good
brainstorm look like?
// 14
Examples of warm up exercises:
>> Introduce your neighbour
Pair up and spend no more than 6 minutes (three minutes for each person) finding out as
much as you can about your partner. This is a getting to know you exercise as well as a
listening, noting and presentation of information exercise. It’s quick, easy and absolutely
stress–free.
>> Knowing me, knowing you
This is great fun for large groups of people from different organisations or divisions who
do not know one another. The well known and much loved ABBA track is three minutes
and one second long. Play this track and allow people to walk around the room
introducing themselves to everyone and anyone they meet. It’s short, it’s sweet and
it’s fun.
>> Porn star name
An old favourite. Starting with yourself first, add the name of your first pet to your
mother’s maiden name to reveal your porn star alter ego. This is quite a short game and
useful for remembering names and lightening the mood.
>> Surprising facts true or false
Each individual is supplied with two cards, one reads TRUE, the other reads FALSE.
Each participant must come to the session armed with a surprising fact about themselves
e.g. I once taught Farah Fawcett to play tennis. The rest of the group must use their true
or false cards to guess if he or she is telling the truth.
>> The listening game
Pair up and get one person to talk for exactly two minutes, either about themselves or
about the subject that is being discussed. Then swap round and do it again the other way.
Then discuss what you have just done, covering off which was easiest and why. This game
helps people to understand how difficult it is to listen (and yet how important it is) and
sets the protocol for the day. Just because it’s a brainstorm, doesn’t mean that it’s all
about shouting out and nothing about listening.
>> Taboo
In pairs, or even in groups, one person needs to describe an object or a series of objects
such as an UMBRELLA, but without using key words. In the case of umbrella, the key
words might be rain, water, open, thunder, weather, bowler hat. This game is a good ice
breaker and reinforces the importance of language.
>> Name the object
The idea of this exercise is to change the energy and tone in the room and to produce
some creative ammunition in order to look at things from a different perspective.
Take an everyday object, such as a pen, and say what you see. For instance, this pen is a
rocket ship, this pen is a lipstick, this pen is a wand. Go around the room in this fashion
with two or three everyday objects.
// 15
>> Say it another way?
Get everyone in the room to re-write the problem in their own words. This will generate a new
vocabulary which will help to broaden the perspective and bring new insights to light – maybe
even re-framing the problem.
>> Turn the problem on its head.
Look at the problem another way to establish what the real problem is. If credit card balances
are not being revolved, the problem could be expressed as ‘too many people are choosing to
pay their balance at the end of the month’ which immediately adds a layer of texture insight to
that problem.
Examples of problem crystallisation exercises:
>> Ask Why?
This exercise is very simple. Just keep
asking ‘why’ to enable you to get to the
next level.
Q. Why are people not revolving their
balances on this card?
A. Because they are choosing to pay off
at the end of the month.
Q. Why?
A. Because they are not spending very
much money and therefore it’s not
worth revolving a balance of less
than £50.
Q. Why?
A. Because they are using other cards for
their main expenditure and this card is
just for emergencies.
Q. Why?
A. Because they have no long standing
relationship with this card.
etc….
[2] Problem crystallisation
Objectives are often expressed in vanilla
marketing speak. Too often they are
expressed as phrases which we understand
the general gist of, but which still suffer
from severe interpretation bias. The problem
crystallisation stage of the session is to help
get to the real root of the problem, which
once uncovered, will make finding the
solution that much easier.
For example, if a credit card brand is looking
to increase its revolving balances*, the root
of the problem is most likely to be found
within the reasons why people are choosing
not to revolve balances with that card.
Understanding this will help provide the
necessary insight to solve the problem.
* a credit card balance which is not paid off
in full at the end of the month
// 16
[3] Brain dump
The brain dump is an important part of the ideas generation process. Most of this output will be
utterly useless but the main purpose of the exercise is to create a blank canvas upon which to start
building ideas. In most cases, those attending the session will have a personal understanding of the
problem, a vested interest in resolving it and an opinion as to what needs to be done to reach an
effective resolution. These points of view need to be aired in advance of the main body of the
ideas generation session. This allows participants to feel that their opinions have been heard and
noted, clearing the way for fresh thinking.
[4] Creative brainstorming
This is the belly of the session. It should be exciting and pacey. During this part of the session the
participants should be feeling energised and bursting with enthusiasm and ideas. Your role as the
facilitator is to mine and harness this creative energy into a bank of working ideas which can be
used as the raw output from the session.
The rules for this part of the session are:
>> Quantity not quality
>> Freewheel
>> Cross–fertilise
>> Don’t criticise
However, just asking people to shout ideas out will not get you very far. You will need to have
prepared useful and relevant stimulus to encourage the brain to think differently.
Examples of creative brainstorming exercises:
1 Feely bag
A bag containing a number of objects of varying sizes, textures, temperature and shape
to encourage lateral thought. These are used as stimulus to create ideas based
around the object. E.g. for a promotions brainstorm, if you pull out a silk scarf, what
ideas might this trigger?
2 Decathlon
In teams, devise a decathlon of competitive events which you know that your
product or brand would win hands down over the competition. Some of the teams
do the same for the competition, and the results are compared and used as a
platform for brainstorming. E.g. the cleaning spray Olympics:
>> Quick draw spray game
>> Wipe away cleaning product with one wipe game
>> Doesn’t leave residue game
>> Etc.
// 17
3 Sensory Fingerprint
This exercise involves taking the participants on a journey away from their immediate
environment and into the heart of the brand/product. The purpose of the exercise is
to encourage the respondents to live the brand/product and to feel it with the full
scope of their senses. How does it:
>> feel?
>> sound?
>> smell?
>> look?
>> taste?
And report back their individual experiences.
4 The Party
This is a great exercise when working with brands. It is a simple projective technique
which encourages participants to imagine the brand is hosting a party. Ask
participants to describe the party in detail from the invites to the venue, the dress
code, the music, the food, the other guests, to give a group insight into how they
feel about the brand. This works best when comparing one brand (party)
with another.
5 What Would They Do?
This exercise is about stripping away the layers of convention which are inherent in
brand personality. Whatever it is that you are trying to do, you may want to consider
how other companies outside of your sector might approach the problem.
How would:
>> BMW
>> Virgin
>> Sainsburys
>> Cable and Wireless
>> Trust House Forte
deal with the problem?
6 Slogan Competition
>> The World’s Favourite ………..Bank
>> The Future’s Bright the Future’s ……..TSB
>> Won’t Make a Drama out of a Crisis
>> Orange………….Be the Best
>> Tesco…………Reassuringly Expensive
>> RAC………Every Little Helps
What can the brand do, or what would it have to do, in order to make this statement
ring true?
7 Brand Ladder
Consider where your brand currently fits in a brand ladder model. Use this one
(see below) or devise your own. Where are you in relation to the competition? What are
the advantages and disadvantages of your current position and where would you/could
you rather be?
8 Celebrity Chairman
Imagine that your company has appointed a celebrity chairman. How would the company
do things differently if that person were:
>> Spike Milligan?
>> Tony Blair?
>> Graham Norton?
>> Richard Branson?
>> Jeremy Paxman?
>> Anita Roddick?
9 Looking Back from the Future
Imagine that you are living in the year 2050. Look back at what you are currently doing to
highlight the silly things we do now because of our own limitations.
>> Queuing to talk to someone on the phone.
>> Having to get money from a hole in the wall.
>> Having to physically travel to the supermarket.
>> Having to charge your mobile phone at the mains.
>> Having to find a telephone to call the RAC man when the car breaks down.
It may be a good idea to get a copy of the BMP Smash ad from the 1980s, which shows
how people used to make mashed potato, as stimulus for this exercise.
10 End of Term Report
Write an end of term report for the product or the brand, drawing out strengths and
weaknesses and texturing areas in which improvement has been made, or areas where
improvement is still pending.
11 Family Trees
Particularly for a family or house of brands, think about plotting a family tree. What is the
actual nature of the relationship between a Cadbury’s Flake and a Twirl? Are they sister
and brother or are they aunt and uncle? Maybe Cadbury’s Daily Milk is the mother in
that family.
This technique clarifies portfolio relationships and allows for closer investigation of brand
and product development.
// 18
// 19
12 Just a Minute
This could be used in conjunction with objects either being handed out or brought into
the session. Each individual is asked to talk for one minute, without hesitation or
repetition, about ways in which their object can be used to solve the problem.
13 Negatives
It is sometimes worth considering what the worst possible option might be, as a way of
filtering out an optimum direction.
>> What would be the worst incentive?
>> Who would be the worst sponsor?
>> Who would be the worst customers?
>> What’s the worst idea we could possibly have?
14 Think Pieces
Think Pieces are short controversial texts which are prepared in advance and scripted to
be as controversial as possible. It is usually best to vary the Think Pieces in content and if
there are too many people, restrict the numbers. Think Pieces should spark off some
controversial debate about the issues discussed, and beyond. They should be followed by
mini brainstorming sessions. Subjects could include:
>> The internet is dead.
>> Women should stay at home and look after their children.
>> Junk food is good for you.
15 Dreams and Ambitions
Get everyone in the group to write their ideas down as dreams or ambitions, prefaced
with “I wish”. This makes sure that everyone in the group speaks about things positively.
It also makes sure that people consider and structure their thoughts before they speak.
It makes the analysis much easier.
16 Mood Templates
Using a combination of origination, magazine scrap art, music, etc., encourage participants
to develop mood boards to articulate their thinking about brands, or target audience,
or ideas.
17 If the Brand Were a Person
Projective technique which personifies the brands in question by attempting to project
them in human form. What would they look like, where would they shop, what car would
they drive, where would they live, what music would they listen to? Etc.
18 Learning from Other Sectors
Apply the problem to another sector to identify how they would deal with it. See what you
can learn and apply it to your own particular problem.
19 Homework
Set homework for all attendees, which they need to bring to the session. This could be
something simple, such as bringing:
>> Something blue.
>> Something from the kitchen.
// 20
>> Something which makes you feel safe.
>> Something which reminds you of holidays.
Or it could be more detailed, such as a diary of their day’s travel or a list of all the TV they
have watched in the last week. Homework exercises are also useful as warm up exercises.
20 Wake Up and Shake Up
Ideas generation is a tiring business. Especially for long sessions which include a break for
lunch, it is often useful to introduce some re-invigoration exercises to help re-build some of
the enthusiasm and momentum of the morning into the (often more sluggish) afternoon.
21 Shoe Bowls
Great outdoor game if your venue has a nice grassy outdoors. Place a designated person
(maybe the problem owner) a fair distance away from the rest of the group and then using
each person’s right shoe/boot, throw in turn to attempt to get closest to the target. Be
clear in advance that there are no extra points for actually hitting the target. This is fun and
gets people outside which can only be a good thing as far as re-invigoration goes.
22 Daytime Dancing
Tongue in cheek. Devise some really simple aerobic style exercises, built up into a really
short four stage routine, which can be taught and executed during one playing of Olivia
Newton John’s ‘Physical’. Nothing too strenuous as this will probably be taking place after
lunch on a full stomach of egg and cress sandwiches.
23 Musical Chairs
This can be done in a number of ways. It can be played as the traditional game removing
one chair between each round. Alternatively, it could be just as effective to make people
sit somewhere different to where they sat in the morning, or change the way everyone is
facing, to get a totally different perspective for the afternoon.
[5] Creative Development
This is the opportunity to build on the first stage of Creative Brainstorming. The room should
now be full of ideas. This is usually a good time to take a break and take stock of what you
have achieved. At this stage in the process you should be looking to use the newly generated
ideas as stimulus for generating even more fresh thinking.
You could use this opportunity to use some of the ideas detailed in Creative Brainstorming (1)
to further develop the thinking. Alternatively, this would be a good time to split people into
smaller groups to work on developing key ideas which have emerged and which have
attracted the group’s attention and interest. It is important to establish that although this part
of the programme is beginning the focusing process, the mood should remain positive and
upbeat. This is still very much about what needs to be done to grow the idea and make it
happen. It is not about destroying it.
Examples of creative development exercises:
1 Amplification: Making the idea work harder.
This session is about taking the core idea and really ‘working it’. If the core idea is about
sponsoring comedy how can you make this work harder?
>> Should you run caption competitions on pack?
>> Should you have open mike nights in pubs and clubs?
>> Should you run TV ads which feature a joke with a choice of punch lines and let the
viewers choose?
// 21
2 Who, When, Where, How?
Take the idea and work it through to give a deeper understanding and broader perspective of
what is required to deliver it; building the context and framework for the idea as you progress
the thinking. For example, in order to deliver the comedy sponsorship, you might need:
>> Who? A well known comedian to launch it. Who would be the best fit for the brand and
target audience?
>> When? It would be great to introduce comedy during the decision making process, to
engender feelings of warmth and friendliness towards the brand.
>> Where? In environments where people are choosing products, in environments where
they are relaxed and not thinking about the category, in environments where they are
about to make a purchase, in competitor environments.
>> How? Have live comedians in store. Have comedians on the hold line when people
phone in.
3 What’s in it for the consumer, what’s in it for me?
As it sounds. Discuss what the consumer stands to gain from this action, in parallel with what
the organisation hopes to achieve.
4 Selling the idea.
What would you need to sell the idea to the consumer? Advertising? Would you need to
ambush them at the right moment? When is the right moment? How would you harness it?
5 10 essential steps to making this happen.
Write a ten point plan which details what would need to be done in order to bring this
idea to life.
6 Sell it to the chairman.
Write a five page presentation which sells this idea to the Chairman. What would you need to
cover off? What questions would he ask and therefore need answers to? What aspect of the
idea is really going to sell this to him?
[6] Theming
This part of the session is really about consolidation. You will find that in most cases, although
you appear to have hundreds of ideas, after closer inspection many will be repeated and most
will fall into a number of core categories. Any number of themes can emerge from this
process, largely dependent on the level of polarity which you want to draw out of the session
output. In our experience, you will rarely achieve more than six broad working themes if you
have worked together as a group. More may emerge if you have chosen to brainstorm initial
themes independently. In this scenario, you may have as many as six per group.
The objective of theming is to whittle down the thinking into workable themes, which:
>> Are sufficiently different from one another.
>> Have the group’s support as themes to take forward.
// 22
[7] Evaluation
This part of the process is really about democratic thinking. It requires some sort of group
consensus to evaluate the potential for each of the themes and/or ideas within those themes.
This can be done in a number of ways, but typically what is required here is a consensus
which can be quantified as to what is going to be taken forward outside of the session for
further examination, exploration and evaluation.
It is paramount that all participants have an opportunity to express an opinion at this juncture and
that the themes/ideas which are taken forward have been worked on, discussed and agreed by the
entire group. If this has not happened, it could jeopardise the flow of progress, post session.
Examples of evaluation exercises:
Essentially this boils down to a voting system in which everyone participates and has equal say.
How you approach this will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the group and
the subject matter discussed.
>> The Post–It note game
Very simple and effective. Three Post–It notes per person, allowing three votes in total.
Yes, it really is as simple as it sounds!
>> Secret ballot
As it sounds. May be useful for contentious ideas which involve structural organisational
changes or sensitive issues such as personnel management. Though ideally, this should
only be used as a last resort if people are refusing to vote openly.
[8] Objective Mapping and wrapping up
This part of the session is key as it closes the loop. The group have been working very hard
for a number of hours (whether they realise it or not) and what they need now is to
know that:
>> They have performed well.
>> The group objectives have been met.
>> Their personal objectives have been met.
>> That their efforts have not been in vain.
Objectives articulated at the very beginning of the session (group and personal) should be
re-visited and consensus should be agreed as to whether each has been met. Where objectives
have not been met (for whatever reason) you should explore why and agree how to take this part
of the objective–set forward, outside of the meeting.
It is also important to agree an agenda of next steps, and to allocate roles and responsibilities (with
agreed time lines), to ensure that the momentum is maintained and everyone leaves on a high.
Don’t forget to say thanks. A little gratitude can go an awful long way!
After the event
// 23
Good reporting of the key session outcomes, along with plotting the journey which got you there,
is essential. This report is not to be treated as a simple aide memoire but as a piece of research in
its own right. It must:
The hard work is over. Sit back and relax. Well actually no, it isn’t.
You can’t relax just yet. In fact you are only one third of the way there.
The post-session write up is an absolutely critical stage, the
mis-management of which can jeopardise the whole project.
>> Have a definite structure.
>> Capture the mood of the session.
>> Present the workings out but also
conclude the findings.
>> Be very clear about what the next steps
are and who will implement them and
by when.
>> Take the thinking even further if required
>> Read as a stand alone document which
those who were not at the session can
understand and buy into.
// 24
The End
>> Exercises
>> Introduction and
Warm Up
>> Problem
Cystallisation
>> Creative
Brainstorming
>> Creative
Development
>> Evaluation
// 25
Planning Schedule
>> Stimulus Required >> Needs it will meet
// 26
1Day15Min15Min15Min30Min30Min30Min3Hours
HalfDayHalfDay15Min15Min15Min30Min15Min15Min1.5Hours
TheOneDayWorkshop
TheHalfDayWorkshop
BrainDumpProblem
Crystallisation
Creative
Brainstorming
Re-invigoration
(wherenecessary)
Creative
Development
ThemingEvaluation
Objective
Mapping&
WrapUp
Introduction
&WarmUp
1Day Output
Preparation

More Related Content

What's hot

Guide to Effective Brainstorming
Guide to Effective BrainstormingGuide to Effective Brainstorming
Guide to Effective Brainstorming
Ba Low
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
Muhammad Fayyaz
 
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideationThere are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
Harish
 
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming CompetenciesCreativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
Herrmann International
 
Brainstorming Technique
Brainstorming TechniqueBrainstorming Technique
Brainstorming Technique
Mohammed Hamed Ahmed Soliman
 
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
SlideTeam
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
James Jefferson
 
Creativity and Brainstorming
Creativity and BrainstormingCreativity and Brainstorming
Creativity and Brainstorming
NCVPS
 
Creativity & Innovation
Creativity & InnovationCreativity & Innovation
Creativity & Innovation
Arpita Kar
 
Was it something I said?
Was it something I said?Was it something I said?
Was it something I said?
Emma Jane Hogbin Westby
 
Brainstorming
Brainstorming Brainstorming
Brainstorming
Chris Bernard
 
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving StrategyBrainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
IJERA Editor
 
Decision Making
Decision MakingDecision Making
Decision Making
Roger Claessens
 
Leading With Insight
Leading With InsightLeading With Insight
Leading With Insight
Matthew Milan
 
Management tips
Management tips Management tips
Management tips
Dr.Sharad H. Gajuryal
 
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
SlideTeam
 
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical Thinking and Problem SolvingCritical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Michigan Works! Muskegon-Oceana
 
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
UXPA UK
 
Self efficacy
Self efficacySelf efficacy
Self efficacy
Roger Claessens
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
Bradley Gangnon
 

What's hot (20)

Guide to Effective Brainstorming
Guide to Effective BrainstormingGuide to Effective Brainstorming
Guide to Effective Brainstorming
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
 
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideationThere are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
There are no bad ideas: 7 steps to ideation
 
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming CompetenciesCreativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
Creativity and Strategic Thinking: The Coming Competencies
 
Brainstorming Technique
Brainstorming TechniqueBrainstorming Technique
Brainstorming Technique
 
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Brainstorming Techniques For New Product Development Complete PowerPoint Deck...
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
 
Creativity and Brainstorming
Creativity and BrainstormingCreativity and Brainstorming
Creativity and Brainstorming
 
Creativity & Innovation
Creativity & InnovationCreativity & Innovation
Creativity & Innovation
 
Was it something I said?
Was it something I said?Was it something I said?
Was it something I said?
 
Brainstorming
Brainstorming Brainstorming
Brainstorming
 
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving StrategyBrainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
Brainstorming: Thinking - Problem Solving Strategy
 
Decision Making
Decision MakingDecision Making
Decision Making
 
Leading With Insight
Leading With InsightLeading With Insight
Leading With Insight
 
Management tips
Management tips Management tips
Management tips
 
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
Idea Development Process Strategies And Architecture Complete PowerPoint Deck...
 
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical Thinking and Problem SolvingCritical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
 
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
Uxpa creativity workshop peter otto 1
 
Self efficacy
Self efficacySelf efficacy
Self efficacy
 
Brainstorming
BrainstormingBrainstorming
Brainstorming
 

Similar to Ideas Generation

deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdfdeloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
Dharam Mentor
 
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdfIntroduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
Dharam Mentor
 
Brain storming
Brain stormingBrain storming
Brain storming
GunjanSharma635920
 
Idea Generation Techniques
Idea Generation TechniquesIdea Generation Techniques
Idea Generation Techniques
Hershey Desai
 
WORKING AS A TEAM-II
WORKING AS A TEAM-IIWORKING AS A TEAM-II
WORKING AS A TEAM-II
Ronald Lazisky
 
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docxAn Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
galerussel59292
 
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docxAn Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
daniahendric
 
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
Pavel Ku
 
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting SkillsLynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
Data Science for Social Good Fellowship
 
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative InnovatorsContent Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
Content Marketing Institute
 
126. Brainstorming
126. Brainstorming126. Brainstorming
126. Brainstorming
LAKSHMANAN S
 
D.school's design thinking process mode guide
D.school's design thinking process mode guideD.school's design thinking process mode guide
D.school's design thinking process mode guide
Geoffrey Dorne
 
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
Ola Elgaddar
 
Creative thinking presentation
Creative thinking presentationCreative thinking presentation
Creative thinking presentation
Mohammed Asif
 
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality ManagementProject Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
MuhammadIftikharAli6
 
Design Thinking : Ideation
Design Thinking : IdeationDesign Thinking : Ideation
Design Thinking : Ideation
Sankarshan D
 
Group Thinking
Group ThinkingGroup Thinking
Group Thinking
Manage Train Learn
 
Design Thinking Design thinking Design thinking
Design Thinking Design thinking  Design thinkingDesign Thinking Design thinking  Design thinking
Design Thinking Design thinking Design thinking
rameshrameshjuly
 
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agenciesDesign Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
Bruno Araldi
 
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a proBrainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
Shaul Rosenzwieg
 

Similar to Ideas Generation (20)

deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdfdeloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
deloitte-cn-mmp-pre-reading-design-thinking-participant-fy19-en-181106.pdf
 
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdfIntroduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
Introduction-to-design-thinking.pdf
 
Brain storming
Brain stormingBrain storming
Brain storming
 
Idea Generation Techniques
Idea Generation TechniquesIdea Generation Techniques
Idea Generation Techniques
 
WORKING AS A TEAM-II
WORKING AS A TEAM-IIWORKING AS A TEAM-II
WORKING AS A TEAM-II
 
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docxAn Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT is t.docx
 
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docxAn Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
An Introduction to Design ThinkingPROCESS GUIDEWHAT .docx
 
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
How to Accelerate Product Results with Brainstorming tools?
 
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting SkillsLynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
Lynbrook | Module #4: Meeting Skills
 
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative InnovatorsContent Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese And Other Creative Innovators
 
126. Brainstorming
126. Brainstorming126. Brainstorming
126. Brainstorming
 
D.school's design thinking process mode guide
D.school's design thinking process mode guideD.school's design thinking process mode guide
D.school's design thinking process mode guide
 
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
Brainstorming, Ola Elgaddar, 2012
 
Creative thinking presentation
Creative thinking presentationCreative thinking presentation
Creative thinking presentation
 
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality ManagementProject Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management Project Quality Management Project Quality Management
 
Design Thinking : Ideation
Design Thinking : IdeationDesign Thinking : Ideation
Design Thinking : Ideation
 
Group Thinking
Group ThinkingGroup Thinking
Group Thinking
 
Design Thinking Design thinking Design thinking
Design Thinking Design thinking  Design thinkingDesign Thinking Design thinking  Design thinking
Design Thinking Design thinking Design thinking
 
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agenciesDesign Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
Design Thinking for people that work in ad agencies
 
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a proBrainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
Brainstorming: Manage your ideas like a pro
 

More from Brian Dargan

Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
Brian Dargan
 
MF Digital Strategy
MF Digital StrategyMF Digital Strategy
MF Digital Strategy
Brian Dargan
 
The Economy of Ideas
The Economy of IdeasThe Economy of Ideas
The Economy of IdeasBrian Dargan
 
Oxygen more than publicity
Oxygen more than publicityOxygen more than publicity
Oxygen more than publicity
Brian Dargan
 
Power of the Margins
Power of the MarginsPower of the Margins
Power of the Margins
Brian Dargan
 
Are you Experienced?
Are you Experienced?Are you Experienced?
Are you Experienced?
Brian Dargan
 

More from Brian Dargan (7)

Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
Paid to Made media Whitepaper FINAL1
 
MF Digital Strategy
MF Digital StrategyMF Digital Strategy
MF Digital Strategy
 
Online Reviews
Online ReviewsOnline Reviews
Online Reviews
 
The Economy of Ideas
The Economy of IdeasThe Economy of Ideas
The Economy of Ideas
 
Oxygen more than publicity
Oxygen more than publicityOxygen more than publicity
Oxygen more than publicity
 
Power of the Margins
Power of the MarginsPower of the Margins
Power of the Margins
 
Are you Experienced?
Are you Experienced?Are you Experienced?
Are you Experienced?
 

Ideas Generation

  • 1. // 1 Everything you need to pluck fantastic thinking out of thin air (…well almost). Ideas Generation
  • 2. Index What is an idea? 3 What is ideas generation? 4 What it takes to be a good facilitator 5 When would you use this process to generate ideas? 6 What do you need to get the ball rolling? 7 >> Creating a climate conducive to creative thinking >> Some people to help with the thinking >> A plan What does a good brainstorm look like? 13 >> Introduction and warm up >> Problem crystallisation >> Brain dump >> Creative brainstorming >> Creative development >> Theming >> Evaluation >> Objective mapping and wrap up After the event 23
  • 3. // 3 Remember:“The real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” M Proust What is an idea and how do you know if you’ve had one? According to Koestler it’s: >> “Seeing what everyone else has seen but thinking what no-one else has thought.” >> “Something so obvious … you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.” >> “Something understood, accepted, but conveyed in a novel, unique or unexpected way.” >> “A combination of things previously un-combined.” What is an idea?
  • 4. // 4 Contrary to popular boardroom mythology it is not a process which starts and ends with a flip chart, marker pen and six people randomly talking over one another. A successful ideas generation session is more likely to be a structured process which requires: >> Preparation A good ideas generation session must be well planned in advance for best results. >> Participation You can only get so far on your own. Diversity and sometimes a little friction can generate the most dynamic outcomes if well managed. >> Facilitation A good facilitator is someone who drives the debate. The need to be able to listen and channel discussions to a mutually consensual conclusion is paramount. >> Concentration The facilitator’s role is the hardest of all; it’s about more than taking notes on a flip chart (see above). You have to think and encourage others to think. >> Collaboration The process is part industry, part journey. The facilitator’s role is to build momentum and drive consensus towards a working output which has the group’s support. You have to work hard to generate ideas. The ideas won’t come if the planning process stops once the refreshments form has been stuck to the fridge. N.B. Coffee and pastries are not statistically proven to improve the quality of output, but the hypothesis is still being tested. What is Ideas Generation?
  • 5. // 5 Interpretation skills >> Interpreting information. >> Interpreting how people feel. >> Interpreting loose thoughts into tangible outputs. Management skills >> The ability to manage a room full of people. Shape processes around the group and its needs to ensure that the objectives of the session are met. An unhappy group will not be productive. Resourcefulness >> Sometimes they just don’t get it. It’s usually your fault if they don’t. Be patient and try something different until they do. A good sense of humour >> Liberates the spirit. A great tonic. A great tool. Use it to your advantage wherever you can. Organisational skills >> The ability to plan and anticipate the programme of events well in advance as well as foreseeing obstacles to thinking, anticipating the flow of events and developing strategies to deal with them before they happen. >> The ability to organise group thoughts as you progress through the session. >> The ability to organise people and anticipate their actions. Listening skills >> The ability to hear not only what is being said but also what is meant by what is being said. >> Ensuring that everything is heard and captured. Processing skills >> The ability to process information quickly and effectively into a format which is easy to understand and work with. What it takes to be a good facilitator
  • 6. // 6 Brainstorming is a means to an end not an end in itself. Firstly you need a clear understanding of the issue or problem which needs to be resolved. Don’t use an ideas generation session to: >> Prove a point. >> Analyse and develop a linear process. >> Attempt to resolve technical issues which are beyond the professional capabilities of the team. >> Generate ideas speculatively (when you don’t have a clear objective). >> Plug a gap when you don’t know what else to do. Ideas generation sessions are typically used to: >> Deconstruct and re-build brand architecture. E.g. What does my brand stand for in this market place and which direction does it need to grow? >> Build brand portfolios and develop brand extension platforms. E.g. Where do my brand’s strengths lie and how can these be married to market opportunities to develop a stronger portfolio of products? >> Build NPD and develop product innovation. E.g. How can we use existing infrastructure and technology to diversify into other areas? >> Generate corporate and brand visions. E.g. Where do we want to be in 5 years’ time? >> Develop customer insight and propositions. E.g. Who are our customers and what motivates them about our offering? >> Stretch creative thinking. E.g. What do we believe are our core strengths and how could we communicate them effectively to our target audience? Fast tracking ideas and rapid buy in. With the right people in attendance the session should also work as an effective means of taking key decision makers on a journey which leads to consensus and an agreed forward direction, which can be acted on immediately. When would you use this process to generate ideas?
  • 7. // 7 1. Climate conducive to creative thinking 2. Some people to help with the thinking 3. A plan Consider: >> A neutral environment, where possible. If this is not possible, try to create an environment which allows freedom of movement. If people are free to move freely they will think more freely. It also gives you, the facilitator, more scope to take charge of, direct and motivate the group. >> An environment which is conducive to the length of time the session is planned to run for. Thinking is tiring work and being locked in an airless room with no natural light for hours on end will not yield the most productive of outputs. >> An environment which could act as stimulus. E.g. a brainstorm on lager promotions could benefit more from being held in a bar than in a boardroom. >> Appropriately spaced comfort and refreshment breaks, for your benefit, as well as that of the participants. Remember, the human brain has a limited capacity for concentration – especially with a full bladder! Avoid: >> Boardrooms. >> Small spaces. >> Expensive airless rooms in hotels with baize table cloths, squash and Fox’s Glacier mints. Create a climate conducive to creative thinking Creative problem solving works best when people feel confident about themselves, and feel that they can work well with one another. A comfortable, relaxed environment and a compatible atmosphere will put people at ease. People will generally think their most creative thoughts when relaxed and enjoying themselves. What do you need to get the ball rolling?
  • 8. // 8 Consider: >> As broad a mix of people as possible. Having all your creative minds cut from the same cloth could limit diversity of thought. >> Identifying where problems might arise with diversity of status or over– zealous personalities and dealing with the problems before they arise (see coping strategies below). >> Splitting people into smaller working groups as soon as possible if you feel that the group is not gelling as a whole. >> Allowing people to dress casually, or having the event off site, if there is a broad range or ranks in attendance. Avoid: >> Inviting people who you know to be negative or disruptive unless you absolutely have to, or they have an exceptionally creative mind in which instance you would develop strategies to manage and channel their output. >> Small spaces. >> Huge differences in status, if at all possible. Some people to help with the thinking A creative thought doesn’t care where it comes from, so principally the outline criteria for spotting a creative mind is that it’s available to attend the session and willing to come along. The optimum number of creative minds for constructive ideas generation is typically between 8 and 12 to maximise the flow of ideas without minimising the facilitator’s ability to control and channel the thinking. It is also worth considering that it will be difficult to introduce break out groups with less than 8 people. Who you choose is up to you. Often stake holders will want to be involved. These can be clients or senior members of staff. Their presence can have an adverse effect on the group’s equilibrium as participants may feel less comfortable expressing their true feelings in front of them. We appreciate that this cannot necessarily be avoided but it should be noted and appropriate strategies should be deployed to defuse any potential disruption of the group dynamic. (see coping strategies below). For specific projects it may be advisable to consider introducing outsiders into the mix. These could be consumers or experts in an appropriate field to broaden the range of creative thinking. They could be clients, or people from other departments not linked to marketing.
  • 9. // 9 Coping strategies 1. The chairman wants to take part: >> Ensure that you have an open plan area within which to work. This will automatically help eliminate physical barriers making people feel more at ease with one another. >> Consider role play which takes people out of their day to day roles. Eg. in an ideas generation session about promoting lager, you may ask the chairman to role play an 18-24 year old lager drinker from Chatham whilst a colleague plays bar tender. >> For those who feel that role play with the chairman might be a career suicide bridge too far, there is always Edward De Bono’s six thinking hats which is a more accepted form of role play in business. (www.deBonoOnline.com) 2. The overly opinionated person: >> Humour them, but then use humour to put them in their place. A heckler can never get one over on the comedian because ultimately the comedian is centre stage. The same rule applies here. The facilitator is centre stage (usually standing up when participants are sitting down). Use your power to work the group. >> Giving the over opinionated person something to do should help. Take them slightly out of the main body of the group and give them a specific task, such as helping with taking notes or parking issues which need to be discussed further, outside the scope of the current session. >> Put them in charge of the smooth running of the process, which includes time keeping and having the final call on whether the issue in hand has been debated in full, and if it’s time to move on. Of course, if the person in question is relatively junior and of little consequence to the proceedings you could just tell them to shut up! 3. The overly negative person: >> Beat them at their own game. Brainstorms are about freedom of thinking. There is no such thing as a bad idea (within reason). Making the most negative person in the group in charge of spotting negative behaviour and punishing it accordingly usually does the trick. Punishments could be anything from having to wear a dunce’s hat to having a sponge ball thrown at them. >> Beat them at their own game by allowing them to play devil’s advocate at designated times during the session. This gives them the opportunity to voice their negative opinions in a controlled environment and on your terms. You will typically find that they tend to be less vocal once they have been given centre stage.
  • 10. // 10 4. The overly quiet person: >> There is always one quiet one. This is not too much of a problem if the session splits into break out groups. You will find that the smaller the group, the greater that person’s contribution. >> Consider exercises which allow people to write things down in the form of a secret ballot, which can then be read out and discussed further. >> It is usually discomfort and shyness which is at the root of quietness in group sessions. A good team building warm up should help to eliminate this at source. You will find this especially important if the group you are working with are all relatively junior or predominantly from non–marketing related departments, and therefore have little experience of attending these kinds of sessions. 5. Dealing with difficult issues: >> It is very likely that during a long session issues will arise which are outside of the scope of agreed objectives. Whether of interest to the group or not, they are still likely to cause an unwanted delay. The best way to deal with this is: >> Firstly, to defer to the problem owner who will make a judgement call as to whether to pursue the issue or not. >> Secondly, ‘PARK’ the issue. This must involve physically writing the issue down in a visible place for all to see. This ensures that the group has acknowledged that the issue is of importance and that it will be dealt with at the end of the session.
  • 11. // 11 1. Understanding the objectives: >> Before embarking on any ideas brainstorm, you need to be clear what the objectives are. These need to be clear in your mind so that you can plan an effective session which delivers against expectations. They also need to be re-iterated and approved by key stake holders in advance of the session, as well as those participating in the session to ensure that everyone is clear about what the session is expected to deliver. 2. Understand and prepare for your role as facilitator: >> Your role as the facilitator should be to encourage thinking with a view to ultimately generating ideas which meet the objectives set for the session and have the support of the majority of the group. This is no easy task and requires strength, tenacity and quick responses. >> Your role is to think of everything so that nothing gets in the way of ideas generation and to allow the participants to relax in the knowledge that someone else is in control. >> Your role is also to energise, create an atmosphere where anything goes and ultimately to drive the session to a conclusion: to get a result. It’s about a lot more than writing things up on the flip chart! >> Remember that once the objectives have been agreed, it is your session. You are in charge. Set ground rules and make sure people stick to them. >> Remember to leave enough time to do all this. As a general rule of thumb it will take as long to prepare for an ideas generation session as it will to deliver it. The ground rules: >> Positivity not negativity. Ideas generation is about generating ideas. Evaluation of those ideas comes much later in the process. There is no room for evaluation during brainstorming, especially if it’s negative. Don’t waste unnecessary time on debate. There is a time and place for debate. During a brainstorm is neither. There may well be issues which need to be discussed, but not at the expense of positive free thinking. Debates need to be nipped in the bud and parked for debate at another pre–agreed time (see dealing with difficult issues). A Plan As with holidays and weddings, the best way to ensure that things go without a hitch is to plan well in advance and prepare for every eventuality. Here’s what you need to do: >> Understand the objectives. >> Understand and prepare for your role as facilitator. >> Plan what you intend to do. >> Prepare for the day. >> Plan for contingency (what you are going to do if what you had first intended doesn’t quite work out).
  • 12. // 12 >> Quantity over quality. Ideas generation is about quantity. Theming and evaluation will whittle the ideas down and prioritise their relevance and importance in meeting the objectives. >> What you say goes. It’s your show. Your job is the meet the objectives. What you say goes. 3. Plan what you intend to do: >> A good ideas generation session needs as much preparation time as the time it takes to deliver the session. For example, a half day workshop will, on average, require half a day’s preparation time. Preparation will typically include: >> a full breakdown of objectives which the session is expected to deliver against. >> a full breakdown of attendees and their respective roles (see preparation). >> a full breakdown of what you are going to cover, along with how long each section is expected to take. >> details of all exercises and projective techniques which are going to be deployed to deliver the session. >> part prepared answers to act as stimulus to get the ball rolling. >> gathering all materials and other essentials which you will require to run the session, including stimulus. (See Appendix 1 for a sample workshop preparation sheet.) 4. Prepare for the day: >> Depending on the subject matter, and time allowed to put the session together, it may be useful to do some pre-workshop research alongside preparation of stimulus. This could involve: >> Desk research; to give yourself and others ammunition and a more solid and informed platform from which to launch ideas on the day. >> Stakeholder interviews; to get to the bottom of what the real issues are surrounding the problem and where the real opportunities lie. >> Think pieces; putting together controversial views which should ignite and polarise thinking with a view to generating more interesting ideas from the group. >> Setting homework; forcing participants to think in advance of the session about certain issues, considerations and aligned subjects, which will provide useful insights and ignite discussion. >> All these preparation techniques can be managed and run by the facilitator and his/her team or shared amongst the group. Ultimately their objective is to act as stimulus which will the make the session more productive and rewarding. 5. Plan for contingency: >> Things hardly ever go according to plan. Always have a contingency plan to try as an alternative if selected techniques do not yield the required results.
  • 13. // 13 Introduce yourself to the group and explain your role. Then allow all participants to introduce themselves which gives everyone a chance to see who they will be working with whilst giving you a chance to put a face to a name. A fun way of doing introductions is to incorporate them into the warm up (see below). A good warm up is essential in setting a good tone for the session. A good warm up incorporating collaboration and humour should relax participants and excite them about the rest of the session. Where you pitch the warm up exercises will depend on a combination of factors including the nature of the audience, the venue and your own personal preferences. * A full size chart can be found at the end of this document (Appendix 2). A typical ideas generation session is diamond shaped.* Typical roles you might want to assign are as follows: Problem owner >> Typically the most senior person on the project. Their role is to be the final arbiter on issues caught in discussion. Time keeper >> Usually the facilitator’s aide. Their role is to ensure that the session does not overrun. Negativity buster >> Usually assigned to the person you believe will be the most destructive or negative in the session. Their role will be to spot negative behaviour and punish it. Scribe >> Depending on the nature of the session you may or may not need more than one scribe. Sometimes it may be useful to give scribing duties to a potentially disruptive person to give them something else to think about. [1] Introduction and warm up A good introduction and warm up are key foundation stones to a good ideas generation session. In order for ideas to flow freely, participants need to feel comfortable and relaxed. As with any good party, it is the host’s responsibility to make sure this happens. You do this by first introducing the session and then explaining clearly to people: >> Why they are there. >> What they are there to do and assign roles if required (see below). >> A broad outline of the session. >> The objectives (and make sure that you achieve buy–in here). What does a good brainstorm look like?
  • 14. // 14 Examples of warm up exercises: >> Introduce your neighbour Pair up and spend no more than 6 minutes (three minutes for each person) finding out as much as you can about your partner. This is a getting to know you exercise as well as a listening, noting and presentation of information exercise. It’s quick, easy and absolutely stress–free. >> Knowing me, knowing you This is great fun for large groups of people from different organisations or divisions who do not know one another. The well known and much loved ABBA track is three minutes and one second long. Play this track and allow people to walk around the room introducing themselves to everyone and anyone they meet. It’s short, it’s sweet and it’s fun. >> Porn star name An old favourite. Starting with yourself first, add the name of your first pet to your mother’s maiden name to reveal your porn star alter ego. This is quite a short game and useful for remembering names and lightening the mood. >> Surprising facts true or false Each individual is supplied with two cards, one reads TRUE, the other reads FALSE. Each participant must come to the session armed with a surprising fact about themselves e.g. I once taught Farah Fawcett to play tennis. The rest of the group must use their true or false cards to guess if he or she is telling the truth. >> The listening game Pair up and get one person to talk for exactly two minutes, either about themselves or about the subject that is being discussed. Then swap round and do it again the other way. Then discuss what you have just done, covering off which was easiest and why. This game helps people to understand how difficult it is to listen (and yet how important it is) and sets the protocol for the day. Just because it’s a brainstorm, doesn’t mean that it’s all about shouting out and nothing about listening. >> Taboo In pairs, or even in groups, one person needs to describe an object or a series of objects such as an UMBRELLA, but without using key words. In the case of umbrella, the key words might be rain, water, open, thunder, weather, bowler hat. This game is a good ice breaker and reinforces the importance of language. >> Name the object The idea of this exercise is to change the energy and tone in the room and to produce some creative ammunition in order to look at things from a different perspective. Take an everyday object, such as a pen, and say what you see. For instance, this pen is a rocket ship, this pen is a lipstick, this pen is a wand. Go around the room in this fashion with two or three everyday objects.
  • 15. // 15 >> Say it another way? Get everyone in the room to re-write the problem in their own words. This will generate a new vocabulary which will help to broaden the perspective and bring new insights to light – maybe even re-framing the problem. >> Turn the problem on its head. Look at the problem another way to establish what the real problem is. If credit card balances are not being revolved, the problem could be expressed as ‘too many people are choosing to pay their balance at the end of the month’ which immediately adds a layer of texture insight to that problem. Examples of problem crystallisation exercises: >> Ask Why? This exercise is very simple. Just keep asking ‘why’ to enable you to get to the next level. Q. Why are people not revolving their balances on this card? A. Because they are choosing to pay off at the end of the month. Q. Why? A. Because they are not spending very much money and therefore it’s not worth revolving a balance of less than £50. Q. Why? A. Because they are using other cards for their main expenditure and this card is just for emergencies. Q. Why? A. Because they have no long standing relationship with this card. etc…. [2] Problem crystallisation Objectives are often expressed in vanilla marketing speak. Too often they are expressed as phrases which we understand the general gist of, but which still suffer from severe interpretation bias. The problem crystallisation stage of the session is to help get to the real root of the problem, which once uncovered, will make finding the solution that much easier. For example, if a credit card brand is looking to increase its revolving balances*, the root of the problem is most likely to be found within the reasons why people are choosing not to revolve balances with that card. Understanding this will help provide the necessary insight to solve the problem. * a credit card balance which is not paid off in full at the end of the month
  • 16. // 16 [3] Brain dump The brain dump is an important part of the ideas generation process. Most of this output will be utterly useless but the main purpose of the exercise is to create a blank canvas upon which to start building ideas. In most cases, those attending the session will have a personal understanding of the problem, a vested interest in resolving it and an opinion as to what needs to be done to reach an effective resolution. These points of view need to be aired in advance of the main body of the ideas generation session. This allows participants to feel that their opinions have been heard and noted, clearing the way for fresh thinking. [4] Creative brainstorming This is the belly of the session. It should be exciting and pacey. During this part of the session the participants should be feeling energised and bursting with enthusiasm and ideas. Your role as the facilitator is to mine and harness this creative energy into a bank of working ideas which can be used as the raw output from the session. The rules for this part of the session are: >> Quantity not quality >> Freewheel >> Cross–fertilise >> Don’t criticise However, just asking people to shout ideas out will not get you very far. You will need to have prepared useful and relevant stimulus to encourage the brain to think differently. Examples of creative brainstorming exercises: 1 Feely bag A bag containing a number of objects of varying sizes, textures, temperature and shape to encourage lateral thought. These are used as stimulus to create ideas based around the object. E.g. for a promotions brainstorm, if you pull out a silk scarf, what ideas might this trigger? 2 Decathlon In teams, devise a decathlon of competitive events which you know that your product or brand would win hands down over the competition. Some of the teams do the same for the competition, and the results are compared and used as a platform for brainstorming. E.g. the cleaning spray Olympics: >> Quick draw spray game >> Wipe away cleaning product with one wipe game >> Doesn’t leave residue game >> Etc.
  • 17. // 17 3 Sensory Fingerprint This exercise involves taking the participants on a journey away from their immediate environment and into the heart of the brand/product. The purpose of the exercise is to encourage the respondents to live the brand/product and to feel it with the full scope of their senses. How does it: >> feel? >> sound? >> smell? >> look? >> taste? And report back their individual experiences. 4 The Party This is a great exercise when working with brands. It is a simple projective technique which encourages participants to imagine the brand is hosting a party. Ask participants to describe the party in detail from the invites to the venue, the dress code, the music, the food, the other guests, to give a group insight into how they feel about the brand. This works best when comparing one brand (party) with another. 5 What Would They Do? This exercise is about stripping away the layers of convention which are inherent in brand personality. Whatever it is that you are trying to do, you may want to consider how other companies outside of your sector might approach the problem. How would: >> BMW >> Virgin >> Sainsburys >> Cable and Wireless >> Trust House Forte deal with the problem? 6 Slogan Competition >> The World’s Favourite ………..Bank >> The Future’s Bright the Future’s ……..TSB >> Won’t Make a Drama out of a Crisis >> Orange………….Be the Best >> Tesco…………Reassuringly Expensive >> RAC………Every Little Helps What can the brand do, or what would it have to do, in order to make this statement ring true?
  • 18. 7 Brand Ladder Consider where your brand currently fits in a brand ladder model. Use this one (see below) or devise your own. Where are you in relation to the competition? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your current position and where would you/could you rather be? 8 Celebrity Chairman Imagine that your company has appointed a celebrity chairman. How would the company do things differently if that person were: >> Spike Milligan? >> Tony Blair? >> Graham Norton? >> Richard Branson? >> Jeremy Paxman? >> Anita Roddick? 9 Looking Back from the Future Imagine that you are living in the year 2050. Look back at what you are currently doing to highlight the silly things we do now because of our own limitations. >> Queuing to talk to someone on the phone. >> Having to get money from a hole in the wall. >> Having to physically travel to the supermarket. >> Having to charge your mobile phone at the mains. >> Having to find a telephone to call the RAC man when the car breaks down. It may be a good idea to get a copy of the BMP Smash ad from the 1980s, which shows how people used to make mashed potato, as stimulus for this exercise. 10 End of Term Report Write an end of term report for the product or the brand, drawing out strengths and weaknesses and texturing areas in which improvement has been made, or areas where improvement is still pending. 11 Family Trees Particularly for a family or house of brands, think about plotting a family tree. What is the actual nature of the relationship between a Cadbury’s Flake and a Twirl? Are they sister and brother or are they aunt and uncle? Maybe Cadbury’s Daily Milk is the mother in that family. This technique clarifies portfolio relationships and allows for closer investigation of brand and product development. // 18
  • 19. // 19 12 Just a Minute This could be used in conjunction with objects either being handed out or brought into the session. Each individual is asked to talk for one minute, without hesitation or repetition, about ways in which their object can be used to solve the problem. 13 Negatives It is sometimes worth considering what the worst possible option might be, as a way of filtering out an optimum direction. >> What would be the worst incentive? >> Who would be the worst sponsor? >> Who would be the worst customers? >> What’s the worst idea we could possibly have? 14 Think Pieces Think Pieces are short controversial texts which are prepared in advance and scripted to be as controversial as possible. It is usually best to vary the Think Pieces in content and if there are too many people, restrict the numbers. Think Pieces should spark off some controversial debate about the issues discussed, and beyond. They should be followed by mini brainstorming sessions. Subjects could include: >> The internet is dead. >> Women should stay at home and look after their children. >> Junk food is good for you. 15 Dreams and Ambitions Get everyone in the group to write their ideas down as dreams or ambitions, prefaced with “I wish”. This makes sure that everyone in the group speaks about things positively. It also makes sure that people consider and structure their thoughts before they speak. It makes the analysis much easier. 16 Mood Templates Using a combination of origination, magazine scrap art, music, etc., encourage participants to develop mood boards to articulate their thinking about brands, or target audience, or ideas. 17 If the Brand Were a Person Projective technique which personifies the brands in question by attempting to project them in human form. What would they look like, where would they shop, what car would they drive, where would they live, what music would they listen to? Etc. 18 Learning from Other Sectors Apply the problem to another sector to identify how they would deal with it. See what you can learn and apply it to your own particular problem. 19 Homework Set homework for all attendees, which they need to bring to the session. This could be something simple, such as bringing: >> Something blue. >> Something from the kitchen.
  • 20. // 20 >> Something which makes you feel safe. >> Something which reminds you of holidays. Or it could be more detailed, such as a diary of their day’s travel or a list of all the TV they have watched in the last week. Homework exercises are also useful as warm up exercises. 20 Wake Up and Shake Up Ideas generation is a tiring business. Especially for long sessions which include a break for lunch, it is often useful to introduce some re-invigoration exercises to help re-build some of the enthusiasm and momentum of the morning into the (often more sluggish) afternoon. 21 Shoe Bowls Great outdoor game if your venue has a nice grassy outdoors. Place a designated person (maybe the problem owner) a fair distance away from the rest of the group and then using each person’s right shoe/boot, throw in turn to attempt to get closest to the target. Be clear in advance that there are no extra points for actually hitting the target. This is fun and gets people outside which can only be a good thing as far as re-invigoration goes. 22 Daytime Dancing Tongue in cheek. Devise some really simple aerobic style exercises, built up into a really short four stage routine, which can be taught and executed during one playing of Olivia Newton John’s ‘Physical’. Nothing too strenuous as this will probably be taking place after lunch on a full stomach of egg and cress sandwiches. 23 Musical Chairs This can be done in a number of ways. It can be played as the traditional game removing one chair between each round. Alternatively, it could be just as effective to make people sit somewhere different to where they sat in the morning, or change the way everyone is facing, to get a totally different perspective for the afternoon. [5] Creative Development This is the opportunity to build on the first stage of Creative Brainstorming. The room should now be full of ideas. This is usually a good time to take a break and take stock of what you have achieved. At this stage in the process you should be looking to use the newly generated ideas as stimulus for generating even more fresh thinking. You could use this opportunity to use some of the ideas detailed in Creative Brainstorming (1) to further develop the thinking. Alternatively, this would be a good time to split people into smaller groups to work on developing key ideas which have emerged and which have attracted the group’s attention and interest. It is important to establish that although this part of the programme is beginning the focusing process, the mood should remain positive and upbeat. This is still very much about what needs to be done to grow the idea and make it happen. It is not about destroying it. Examples of creative development exercises: 1 Amplification: Making the idea work harder. This session is about taking the core idea and really ‘working it’. If the core idea is about sponsoring comedy how can you make this work harder? >> Should you run caption competitions on pack? >> Should you have open mike nights in pubs and clubs? >> Should you run TV ads which feature a joke with a choice of punch lines and let the viewers choose?
  • 21. // 21 2 Who, When, Where, How? Take the idea and work it through to give a deeper understanding and broader perspective of what is required to deliver it; building the context and framework for the idea as you progress the thinking. For example, in order to deliver the comedy sponsorship, you might need: >> Who? A well known comedian to launch it. Who would be the best fit for the brand and target audience? >> When? It would be great to introduce comedy during the decision making process, to engender feelings of warmth and friendliness towards the brand. >> Where? In environments where people are choosing products, in environments where they are relaxed and not thinking about the category, in environments where they are about to make a purchase, in competitor environments. >> How? Have live comedians in store. Have comedians on the hold line when people phone in. 3 What’s in it for the consumer, what’s in it for me? As it sounds. Discuss what the consumer stands to gain from this action, in parallel with what the organisation hopes to achieve. 4 Selling the idea. What would you need to sell the idea to the consumer? Advertising? Would you need to ambush them at the right moment? When is the right moment? How would you harness it? 5 10 essential steps to making this happen. Write a ten point plan which details what would need to be done in order to bring this idea to life. 6 Sell it to the chairman. Write a five page presentation which sells this idea to the Chairman. What would you need to cover off? What questions would he ask and therefore need answers to? What aspect of the idea is really going to sell this to him? [6] Theming This part of the session is really about consolidation. You will find that in most cases, although you appear to have hundreds of ideas, after closer inspection many will be repeated and most will fall into a number of core categories. Any number of themes can emerge from this process, largely dependent on the level of polarity which you want to draw out of the session output. In our experience, you will rarely achieve more than six broad working themes if you have worked together as a group. More may emerge if you have chosen to brainstorm initial themes independently. In this scenario, you may have as many as six per group. The objective of theming is to whittle down the thinking into workable themes, which: >> Are sufficiently different from one another. >> Have the group’s support as themes to take forward.
  • 22. // 22 [7] Evaluation This part of the process is really about democratic thinking. It requires some sort of group consensus to evaluate the potential for each of the themes and/or ideas within those themes. This can be done in a number of ways, but typically what is required here is a consensus which can be quantified as to what is going to be taken forward outside of the session for further examination, exploration and evaluation. It is paramount that all participants have an opportunity to express an opinion at this juncture and that the themes/ideas which are taken forward have been worked on, discussed and agreed by the entire group. If this has not happened, it could jeopardise the flow of progress, post session. Examples of evaluation exercises: Essentially this boils down to a voting system in which everyone participates and has equal say. How you approach this will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the group and the subject matter discussed. >> The Post–It note game Very simple and effective. Three Post–It notes per person, allowing three votes in total. Yes, it really is as simple as it sounds! >> Secret ballot As it sounds. May be useful for contentious ideas which involve structural organisational changes or sensitive issues such as personnel management. Though ideally, this should only be used as a last resort if people are refusing to vote openly. [8] Objective Mapping and wrapping up This part of the session is key as it closes the loop. The group have been working very hard for a number of hours (whether they realise it or not) and what they need now is to know that: >> They have performed well. >> The group objectives have been met. >> Their personal objectives have been met. >> That their efforts have not been in vain. Objectives articulated at the very beginning of the session (group and personal) should be re-visited and consensus should be agreed as to whether each has been met. Where objectives have not been met (for whatever reason) you should explore why and agree how to take this part of the objective–set forward, outside of the meeting. It is also important to agree an agenda of next steps, and to allocate roles and responsibilities (with agreed time lines), to ensure that the momentum is maintained and everyone leaves on a high. Don’t forget to say thanks. A little gratitude can go an awful long way!
  • 23. After the event // 23 Good reporting of the key session outcomes, along with plotting the journey which got you there, is essential. This report is not to be treated as a simple aide memoire but as a piece of research in its own right. It must: The hard work is over. Sit back and relax. Well actually no, it isn’t. You can’t relax just yet. In fact you are only one third of the way there. The post-session write up is an absolutely critical stage, the mis-management of which can jeopardise the whole project. >> Have a definite structure. >> Capture the mood of the session. >> Present the workings out but also conclude the findings. >> Be very clear about what the next steps are and who will implement them and by when. >> Take the thinking even further if required >> Read as a stand alone document which those who were not at the session can understand and buy into.
  • 25. >> Exercises >> Introduction and Warm Up >> Problem Cystallisation >> Creative Brainstorming >> Creative Development >> Evaluation // 25 Planning Schedule >> Stimulus Required >> Needs it will meet