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How can I… be more creative?

Unleashing Creativity with Structured Brainstorming

In our quest to enhance creativity and uncover new solutions, brainstorming represents a valuable tool that enables individuals and teams to ignite their imaginations and generate fresh ideas – and ultimately learn to be more creative. Indeed, creativity is not an innate talent solely possessed by a fortunate few; rather, it is a skill that can be cultivated and honed through practice and training. The benefits of brainstorming as a means to spur creativity and innovation are manifold, and by adhering to clear guidelines, we can unleash our creative potential to its fullest.

1. Find a Buddy or Team: Brainstorming is more enjoyable and productive with a buddy or a team as it brings diverse perspectives and encourages idea generation. Working collectively enhances the quantity and quality of ideas.

2. Address the Challenge Together: Engage in a collaborative discussion to address the problem or challenge at hand. Frame it as a question to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands the focus of the brainstorming session.

3. Equip with Tools: Armed with a pen, paper, and a timer, participants can structure thoughts and capture ideas effectively. Setting a specific time frame (we recommend 90 seconds) and defining the challenge question directs creative energy towards finding viable solutions.

4. Solo Ideation: By writing down ideas, individuals create as many solutions as possible within a set timeframe. Emphasizing quantity over quality encourages free thinking and fosters a non-judgmental environment for idea generation.

5. Sharing and Counting Ideas: After solo ideation, ideas are shared one by one. This promotes active listening and fosters respect for each participant’s contribution.

6. Discussion and Selection: Taking it a step further, ideas are discussed, and 2-3 solutions are selected to tackle the challenge effectively. This ensures that the most promising solutions are considered for implementation.

7. Progress Check-in: Participants check in with each other to monitor the progress made in executing the selected solutions, ensuring accountability and fostering teamwork.

By adhering to these structured guidelines, participants not only generate insightful and new solutions but also embrace a problem-solving process—the ACE process—consisting of Address, Create, and Execute. This method serves as a robust framework for tackling challenges, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

In essence, the structured approach to brainstorming not only empowers individuals to confront challenges and stimulate creativity but also provides a clear pathway to learning and mastering the art of generating innovative solutions. By embracing the process of brainstorming, we can unlock the full potential of our creative faculties and pave the way for novel ideas and groundbreaking solutions, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

So, before jumping to conclusions the next time you’re confronted with a challenge, apply the ACE process and follow the brainstorming rules in the Create phase. This will not only help you unleash your creative potential but also lead to innovative solutions that you might not have considered before.