There can’t be a person in the modern business world that’s not sat in on a brainstorming session. You know, where a bunch of you sit in a room, someone grabs the marker pen and writes everyone’s ideas on a flip chart, along with some funky looking arrows.
After the event, in 99% of all cases, all that happens to those ‘innovative’ ideas is that they get typed up, emailed around to those who need to know and…. Forgotten. Fab! What a waste of time, energy and possibly, just possibly, that very idea that might have been the catalyst to the business big time.
Brainstorming is dead
Apart from the above, d’you know the other reasons why brainstorming fails to produce results? Because it’s not from the lack of talent of those doing the brainstorming, it comes down to the way it’s carried out.
When the human brain is presented with a question, we’ve been conditioned since birth to search for the solution – and then move on. So, when a group of people sit down to brainstorm, not only does the brain stop working once it thinks all the ideas have been placed on the table, there’s also that unconscious thought that, as discussed above, it’s all pretty pointless anyway.
So what’s the answer? How on earth can you utilize the collective genius of different people in a way to discover the next innovative step to promote your business?
Well, we’ve got two words for you:
- Killer Questions
Oh, okay, three words then…
But seriously, innovation is all about asking the right questions. Killer questions.
So what is a killer question?
A killer question is one that forces you to turn conventionality and general assumptions on their head. It forces you to think about the question before you answer it. It forces you to go through some kind of discovery process, and it forces you out of your comfort zone.
It’s only by forcing the brain into thinking in this manner that truly fresh and innovative business marketing ideas can be allowed to occur.
And if you can add a little diversity into the mix, then you’re well on the way to creating killer combination. By diversity, we’re talking about looking at your industry/service/product from a view other than your own. Sure – you run a restaurant. And, in your opinion, you know the best way to do so. But would that also be the opinion held by an 18 year old lad? A single mother? By a blue collar worker or the wife of a doctor? And there’s only one way to do this, and it’s to ask.
True innovation often comes from the most unlikely sources. So take advantage of who you know. This might be friends, family, other small business owners – whoever. But one thing’s for sure, the further outside the box you go, the more likely it is that you’ll hit on that winning formula.