New ideas never bloom in a conforming environment. Imagination is more important than knowledge but it dies under the withering heat of criticism.
When a team is faced with a difficult and complex problem ask for ideas – as many as possible. The greater the number, the greater the chance of coming up with a solution. But don’t allow interruptions or negative comments.
Never kill an idea, but look for alternative ways to make use of it.
Five of the best tips for gathering ideas to solve problems
* Select a small group of concerned people
Select enthusiastic people with a wide range of backgrounds, ages and sex.
*Appoint an enthusiastic skilful leader
The leader must spell out the problem and encourage wild ideas to help solve it, practical or impractical. The problem should be defined in short and precise words. The statement must be clear and unambiguous.
The leader must explain there must be no comments or criticism at this stage.
Suggestions should be listed for all to see.
Work under pressure for limited periods.
Try using small competitive groups to compete for good ideas. Encourage them to pick what they think is the “best idea”. Ask them why.
Classify ideas for further discussion into “possible”, “perhaps” and “impossible” solutions.
*Examine each idea thoroughly
Take a break. When you return refreshed, examine each idea to see if it has a practical application.
Try putting solutions into priority order.
Discuss and compare them. Look for ways to combine or improve ideas.
*Decide on the best solution
Plan how it can be put into practice and discuss the implications.
New ideas need people who get things done – not talkers – they need champions with zeal and passion, sustained by convictions and fortified by faith!
“The best way to kill an idea is to take it to a meeting.”
Source: “Time-Savers”, Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand (www.mossassociate.co.nz) and “Time Management Secrets”, Cengage Learning Asia, Singapore and as a Times Business Book, Federal Publications, Also available as an E-book from Amazon.com.