Edward Glassman : Brainstorming Isn't Creative Enough Anymore
Brainstorming Isn't Creative Enough Anymore
By Edward Glassman, PhD
Creative thinking fuels your ability to generate "new and useful" ideas. Now it can work even better. An important paradigm shift occurred.
THE PARADIGM SHIFT IN CREATIVE THINKING: For the past 75 years or so, a quiet revolution has taken place. No longer do we have to wait for someone's brain to slowly churn out a new and useful idea. Now we have hundreds of creative thinking techniques to help generate ideas to achieve high-quality solutions to problems.
"Hold on," you say. "Didn't the old techniques work for thousands of years to produce new and useful ideas? Didn't we construct our entire civilization using those old ways? Why a new way? If it ain't broke, why fix it?"
Of course the old ways still work. And we did construct our civilization waiting for new and useful ideas to slowly appear.
Nonetheless, the new ways heat up the process so we generate more new and useful ideas in a shorter time. And because we have more ideas to choose from, we turn out higher quality solutions. Quantity of ideas often leads to higher quality solutions, and avoids the quick fix.
Teams using brainstorming to generate ideas complain that they have trouble sorting and selecting so many ideas. How sweet to move from the old bottleneck of not having enough ideas to the problem of evaluating the myriad of ideas a simple brainstorming session produces.
And Osborn invented brainstorming over 80 years ago, a time when we used the Model-A Ford and the DC-3 airplane. Not a modern technique at all. Indeed, using only brainstorming today mimics driving around in a Model-A Ford or a DC-3 airplane, ignoring computers, antibiotics, TV, the Internet, the I-pad, and the thousands of modern inventions from which we benefit.
Most people do have a choice when solving problems. Unfortunately, while seeking the highest quality solution, they use old fashioned methods with a low probability of success. They ignore modern creative thinking techniques.
Put another way, the old fashioned way of waiting for ideas mimics evaporating water by letting it sit in a large dish. Modern techniques add heat to the process, and some state-of-the-art techniques act like a blast furnace. Really, brainstorming is old fashioned today.
So move into the 'Age Of Modern Creative Thinking Techniques.' Start using the many dozens of creative thinking techniques now available to help you achieve quality solutions.
Focus on what works, not theory. While theory help us to understand, techniques that work at work help us even more. Three types of techniques exist to help solve problems creatively.
First, creative thinking techniques that shift paradigms and produce unexpected, fresh ideas and solutions.
Second, techniques that change the climate so new ideas flourish.
Third, techniques that stop pigeonholing people and stifling their creative thinking.
The results ultimately depend on your commitment to alter habits and apply new techniques to work problems.
TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS, REDUCE RESISTANCE TO TECHNIQUES: Today, many companies find that creative thinking contributes to a successful competitive edge. Teams, and people who work alone, use techniques to solve problems more creatively. Turn your complacent team into a dynamic creative unit using advanced techniques. Most people drop resistance once they accept some new ideas.
First, creative thinking at work involves an ordinary, daily activity.
Second, people can learn creative thinking techniques. Using these techniques does not turn anyone into an Einstein, but they do help people find better solutions to problems.
Third, people can change the habits that spoil creative thinking and doom the creative climate.
Finally, using techniques helps achieve quality solutions and leads to success at work.
Skeptical people need to discover that many different ways of perceiving a work problem exists, that diverse solutions exist, and that using techniques succeeds, a key change in attitude.
So, if you want to do better, if you want to move toward excellence, and if you want more profitable products and services, start using advanced creative thinking techniques to improve your winning competitive edge. •
© 2010 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.
Edward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. More »