A 20 Minutes Idea Boost

Many people think that to get ideas it is necessary to move from the working place to a resort in the woods or the beach. It is easy to believe that another environment will free the mind. I have never seen any evidence that a retreat helps, but it seems to me that every time an idea is needed, a 2-day idea session outside office is very impractical, and also undesirable. Employees may beginning to think that only outside the office ideas are permitted to get ventilated.A  structured idea session does not have to take more than 20 minutes and may look something like this. 
1, Define the challenge (4 minutes Blue Hat Thinking)

  • In what area do we need ideas
  • Redefine the challenge in at least 7 ways
  • If there is more than one challenge, choose one and leave the others
  • Choose a creativity technique

2. Generate ideas ( 3 minutes Green Hat Thinking)

  • Apply a creativity technique

3. Report each idea in the following format (7 minutes Blue Hat Thinking)

  • Focus: what has been the focus?
  • Idea: a description of the idea
  • Concept: a description of the underlying concept
  • What is the concept to be achieved?
  • In which way is that achieved?
  • What are the values of the concept or idea?

4. Evaluate each idea/concept –  the degree of innovativeness and the level of effort required for a successful implementation (4 Minutes Red Hat Thinking)

  • X-axis Innovativeness:  a scale from 1 (improvement) to 5 (Breakthrough)
  • Y-axis Implementation: a scale from 1 (slowly/difficult) to 5 (quick/easy)

5. Decide what action to be taken ( 2 Minutes  Blue Hat Thinking)

  • Implement immediately (score 5,5)
  • Develop
  • Give away
  • Store for later use
  • Throw away (score 1,1)

As you will notice the amount time of time dedicated to Blue Hat Thinking is 13 minutes which seems counter-intuitive for a creative session. The actual time for creative thinking is only 3 minutes. The definition of the challenge, the reporting of ideas, and the evaluation of ideas are often the weakest parts of a creative thinking session.

If you schedule a 20 minutes creativity session every week, after six month you will have at least 24 ideas. Many of them may be excellent ideas!

Photo: Bulb With Purple Lotus In Hand by thampapon1

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