Creativity and Self-Expression

    Seven Ways to Prepare for Effective Brainstorming

    seven ways to preparev1Want an Innovation Breakthrough?
    Prepare, Then Brainstorm

    Most brainstorming doesn’t work.

    The literature bashing brainstorming is extensive. Sessions often fail, and there are many reasons. Ideas are still needed to fill pipelines! I’m going to focus on one problem with brainstorming in this post: lack of preparation.

    The Boy Scouts have it right. Be Prepared.

    There is not enough mental preparation done with participants before brainstorming/idea generation sessions. Nor is there enough attention paid to planning and facilitating the exercises and stimulus in the session itself. Start thinking of idea generation as a project that takes a few weeks, not a one day session.

    Use Diverse Springboards to Scaffold Thinking.

    Fresh combinations of concepts are what creates breakthrough ideas. This is the essence of innovation. To get there you’ve got to put a lot of diverse data points, springboards, in front of participants. Springboards should be provided to participants in a constant stream, before, and during, the session. These are the dots to connect. Interesting conceptual dots, related to your challenge, and weirdly, un-related to the challenge are “Scaffolding.”

    “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

    Dr. Seuss

    Take a hint from Dr. Seuss. People need to think more, more often, and over a longer period of time. Plan this! Plan for participants to think alone, together, out loud, and quietly. Plan visual elements, written and kinesthetic exercises. Have them experience the emotion behind the challenge. If this is done, the brain will make fresh combinations and innovative ideas emerge.

    Seven Ways to Better Prepare for Idea Generation:

    1. Assign at least three hours of homework over a few weeks. Have participants do research, and virtual ideation, alone.
    2. Send the research ahead! Give them time to read, absorb, and jot down ideas, alone.
    3. Get smart outsiders involved. Expand the thinking team. Broaden the range of knowledge in the project.
    4. Get the platform question right. Unfocused questions mean useless ideas. Overly focused questions means narrow thinking.
    5. Plan a live session that sparkles all day long. It’s got to be dynamic, full of variety, unique stimulus, scaffolding, and fun.
    6. Balance the day plan with introvert friendly activities. These sessions need quiet and reflection in addition to all the shouting.
    7. Get a world class facilitator. Somebody who can help you do the other six items on this list.

    Better session plans and facilitation require a person trained in those skills. The exercises you conduct with participants, before and after the session, need to stretch thinking and bring in outside concepts and trends. This is not trivial to plan, and it won’t be done well without deep background in concept blending tools and techniques. If you don’t have these skills in-house, hire me to do the session, and/or to train your people.

    Bottom line: If you don’t prepare idea generation sessions creatively, differently, and carefully — you will fail.

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    The Innovation Imperative, growing culture and capacity (GFi Keynote)

    The Innovation Imperative… growing innovation culture and capacity If you want an organization to survive, you must innovate. But innovation is more than survival, it’s the heart beat of an organization. What you make, what you do, and how you do it — is the lifeblood of who you are. Staying in business means reinventing as markets shift. In this inspirational speech Gregg Fraley answers the Why Innovation question, and informs as to what innovation means to you and your group. It advocates that innovation is an exciting part of everyone’s job, not “extra work.” The stories of great innovation moments, overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles, and inventive breakthroughs will leave audiences empowered to innovate. The content is about how the




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    Training is an Innovation Accelerant II

    Do You Wish To Accelerate Innovation? Get Training! When I step into a room to facilitate an innovation, strategy, or idea generation session I always find a great deal of energy. What I also often find is inexperience. Inexperience in: the kind of divergent thinking necessary to innovate, in specific meeting behaviors and facilitation skills, and in innovation process, approaches and frameworks Here are details regarding a half day Innovation Intensive course I’m conducting at Workspring in Chicago on October 27th, 2017. Energy, motivation, and inspiration are important factors in getting innovation rolling. But none of them, or all of them together, are enough to overcome untrained thinking, poor session facilitation, and an un-anchored or non-existent innovation approach. Your innovation




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    Free Workshop at Workspring Chicago — Creative Choices, Innovative Results

    Notice: Gregg Fraley Speaking at Workspring Chicago Wednesday August 2, 2017 — 8 am to 10 am The free workshop at Workspring Chicago will focus on creative behaviors that enhance creative effectiveness. The habits/behaviors and associated tools and techniques apply to both personal and business roles. As the graphic says, you’ll learn approaches you can immediately use. Highly useful for innovation teams, team leaders, and anyone who wants to enhance their creative effectiveness. This will be presented by Gregg Fraley, author of Jack’s Notebook, co-inventor of IdeaKeg, and originator of MoshPit Innovation. RSVP with Workspring: rsvp@workspring.com Cheers.




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    Five Ways Incivility Decapitates Innovation

    A Culture of Incivility Harms USA Innovation Five Ways Incivility “Decapitates” Innovation The recent flap around Kathy Griffin’s posting a picture of a fake severed head, of our President, was a sad attempt at humor, but incredibly successful at provocation. It has brought up the discussion, once again, of the civility of our discourse in America. I think Tiffany Quay Tyson does a nice job of summing up how many people are reacting to the Griffin incident, and the subsequent howls of reaction. No matter your political persuasion, civil discourse, and it’s close cousins, politeness, gentility, tolerance, compassion, and good manners have slipped far from where we once were. Those who keep track of civility are in agreement about the




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    Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs

    Book Review of: Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs I read the literature associated with creativity and innovation. Can you hear me snoring? I don’t review most of them because I’d have to pan them. They are consistently boring, dry, and wonky. At the end of the day many books in the genre are, weirdly, not very creative. I’m happy to report that I’ve read a new creativity book that is quite dynamic. Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs, by Gerard Puccio, John F. Cabra and Nathan Schwagler* is a breath of fresh air. It’s dense with fascinating and fresh information about innovation. As claimed in the title, it really is practical, and indeed,




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    Innovation MoshPit

    What’s Really Needed is an Innovation MoshPit Reinventing Combinations, Concept Blends, and Mash-Ups I’ve been touting concept blends in innovation for some time. My reason is simple, it’s a fast path to new and different ideas. From the Printing Press to the iPhone, big new market-creating innovation happens when concepts from two different domains are combined. These Mash-Ups are not intuitive for most people to do and maybe that’s why some people try it and fail. Take heart, smart people can do concept blends with careful mental scaffolding. The key benefit to concept blends for organizations is finding breakthrough innovation. It’s my contention that a lot of breakthrough innovation is left on the table because not enough thinking work is




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    Ten Things United Airlines Might Have Done

    Improving Customer Service at United Airlines Requires a Paradigm Shift and Recognizing They Have a Problem Creative Training Would Have Helped 10 Things United Airlines Might Have Done (see below) Once again we have an incident of extremely poor customer service from a major airline. This time it’s United (as it is frequently) who dragged a paying customer off a flight by force. A doctor on a deadline. Incidentally, an Asian man. The video is very hard to watch, it’s sad, degrading, humiliating for the passenger, and an example of brutality visited upon an innocent and trusting consumer. The cops went too far as well, but United made the call and got them involved. United is responsible. Other than beating




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    Small “i” Insights or Large “I” Insights Yield Different Innovation

    Qualitative Consumer Verbatims Lead Directly to New and Improved Ideas Disruptive Innovation Requires Reframing of Consumer Words and Need States Working with Fortune 1000 companies I’ve found cultures rich in respect for qualitative research. The term “Focus Groups” really doesn’t do the method justice, it’s more sophisticated than that.  Smaller companies often do qualitative to, usually less formally, and often poorly, but sometimes brilliantly. Listening to consumers is a skill any entrepreneur or innovator can cultivate. The trap is thinking that consumer words, aka insights, are great launching pads or problem frames for ideation. They’re not bad, but they rarely lead to disruptive innovation. As a qual friend said to me, “here are big “I” insights and small “i” insights.”




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    Innovate Immigration Policy

    Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid Who remembers George Gilder? He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995: “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.” He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995. Readers who would prefer I stay out of political posts please understand this is a post about Innovation. I’m not going to comment on the moral, legal, or overtly political aspects of the new immigration policy. I will say that the new policy is hostile, at the very least in terms of how it’s




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