Innovation is a group activity

A few years ago there was a great video produced, based on the TED talk by Stephen Johnson, entitled, “Where do good ideas come from?”

If you missed it, here it is again.

Innovation requires collision

What Johnson focuses on is the fact that for really great and innovative ideas to make it, they need to collide with other ideas to refine them.

If we know this, then you would think our brainstorming processes would be much better. But they're not.

Innovation requires bravery

What I mean is that when we meet to brainstorm, too often we're scared by who's in the room, or scared to look dumb. The result is crappy collisions. Or worse: silence.

A new way to brainstorm

The problem – deep down inside – is that we're not good at healthy conflict. We'd all succeed much more in life if we learned how to deal with conflict effectively.

So here's a conflict-free (until we all get better) way to brainstorm.

1. Gather people together. Share the challenge you're facing. In other words, define the scope of exercise.

2. Give them full sheets of paper to write down their idea(s).

3. Now, instead of having everyone talk at the same time, or read off all their ideas, have them pass around their ideas.

4. And then tell everyone to read thru them and on the paper for each idea, to add nuances that could improve it.

5. Improve as many as you can. And then pass them around for others to improve – so that each idea is enhanced several times.

You've just brainstormed without shouting or talking over people.

So what are you waiting for? Invite your introverts to join this unique way to make things bigger and better.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.