I have a brainstorming meeting and I want come prepared



The Context

The process of fully fleshing out your ideas hinges on movement value. It’s proven to help people move from creatively blocked to consistently prolific. In short, it’s the intersection of metaphorical and divergent thinking, memory jogging, strategic researching, creative stretching, structured brainstorming and rabbit hole venturing. Once you hone this skill, once you master the art of movement value, not only will your creative output multiply, but the people in your life will start bringing their seeds to you, begging you to help build their forests. Which is a gift all of us should be fortunate enough to receive.

The Tool

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FORESTATION — A system for cultivating innovative ideas systematically rather than sporadically

Anytime you're ideating or brainstorm with a team, volume comes first. Quantity is the target, quality is what we get for hitting it. From a leverage perspective, here’s the question to ask in that moment. How could we turn this seed into a forest? When you take the time to measure twice and cut once, so to speak, you don’t have to rack your brain. And keep in mind, the ideas don't have to be good, or bad, they are just ideas. The goal is volume, not judgment. Movement value is about spawning as many creative offspring as possible. This whole process is fun, easy, fast, and equips you and your team with leverage when you strategize.

Scott's Take

Scott's Take

Hugh, a management consultant, posed a challenge to our group. He asked us to help him brainstorm potential brand names, tag lines, trademarks and other marketing assets for his new service line. In his brief, he outlined the historical context that led to his current challenge, along with the opportunity he saw in the marketplace for capitalizing on it. For the record, this man has been friend of mine for many years, so he knew quite well that when somebody asks me to help them come up with an idea, I’m going to come back to them with fifty. That’s just the way my brain works. Anyway, here was my process. See if it’s the kind of framework that might work for your ideas. One, open up a new spreadsheet. God love blank documents, but for this type of of task, it’s actually faster and cleaner to be able to compartmentalize your thinking into columns and rows without having to worry about formatting issues. Two, restate the brief at the top of the page. Use this as your north star going forward to assure alignment with the stated objective. Three, start where you are. Review all the current materials and parse out any words, phrases, ideas, concepts and other assets that you already own. This is important for building creative momentum, as starting from scratch can be stressful and demotivating. Fourth, find a way to unpack the narrative of the task in a linear, cause and effect format. Find the organizing principle. In my case, my colleague had a new corporate training service line for which he needed branding assets. Simple formula. The first column is a generic name of the various skills the service line teachers, such as public speaking, team building and risk management. The second column is the list of performance improvement benefits that each skill offers to the client, like improved resiliency, cost efficiency and agile communication. The third column is the branding piece. My favorite part. It’s the list of ideas for cool, creative and memorable themes, motifs or illustrations that could attach to this new service offering. And finally, the fourth column is the word bank, also known as the parking lot, where orphan ideas can go if they don’t find a home. That way you don’t waste or lose anything. This column is also a smart place to include external resources, research or references that might support the creative process. Okay, putting that framework into place took about thirty minutes. And once the foundation was set, it took me another thirty minutes to populate the columns with dozens of ideas. Most of them just fell into my lap. That’s where the leverage comes from.

The Rest

Next time someone in your life offers you a seed, use your own unique process for turning it into a forest. You never know what beautiful life might blossom. How do you respond when someone gifts you the chance to help them grow?

The Benefits

Avoid the stress of starting from scratch
Capitalize on your business opportunities faster
Brainstorm projects in a creative yet organized way
Generate a large amount of ideas quickly with a team
Develop a framework for innovation that guides the creation of other people’s insights and ideas.

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