Friday I was involved in an inspiration day for Sparekassen Kronjylland and besides doing an ideation session with them at the end of the day, I had the pleasure of opening the day with a short presentation on how to work with creativity and innovation. Earlier this year I did the same to our Aegis Media Client Board together with Morten Albæk from Danske Bank (now Vestas), and it hits me how interesting it is every time you have to sit down and reflect on this subject.
One issue I spend some time thinking about is how much it annoys me every time I hear people say “let’s do some brainstorming” or ”we really need to think out of the box here”, as these often just represent a lot of people wasting their time sitting and talking in all kind of directions with no goal besides from the “hotness” of being creative. In the best case they waste a lot of time, in the worst case they spend this time convincing each other on the implementation of a stupid idea, which in the end will cost the company a lot of money.
Brainstorming isn’t just something you do. It is a difficult, structured and strategic discipline. And it isn’t just done in the moment of facetime between colleagues. It has to be planned, ignited and facilitated in a useful way by people being sharp and precise on the goals of the exercise, as well as the company’s objectives for initiating this activity.
Brainstorming out of the box is often just crazy ideas, with no objective, often off brand and off strategy. So please stop calling creativity in the name of “out of the box-thinking” and start focusing on how to create frames, boxes and structures to better create true creativity. It does have to be a colored room or a green hat or so. It could just be a simple way to enhance the effect of combining skills, a structure which makes it easier to talk about this or a simple planning process that ensures that all angles and combinations in an idea or a concept can be easily explored, prototyped or evaluated up against the overall objectives. Because in the end innovation and creativity isn’t worth much if it doesn’t help fulfill the objectives set for the company.