Probably the biggest time filler of a creative team is the time it takes to find a place to start. This, as the staff manager, is what you want to minimize.
When approached to find a brand new and innovative idea, your staff is really being asked to comb the endless expanse of the universe and come back to you with a genuinely usable idea; a lengthy process that can take up valuable time that could be better used elsewhere. The answer to this: Thinking Inside the Box.
Take the vagueness out of the equation and minimize the amount of space that your staff has to ponder and pull ideas from by giving them solid parameters to work within.Below is how your startup can be much more successful during your own brainstorming sessions by thinking Inside the Box instead of Out.
Control and Guide the Brainstorm Sessions
Brainstorming sessions often start with a request for staffers to be “Innovative”, which more or less is a call to become divinely inspired on command. These sessions, however, usually turn out to be no more than shots in the dark: ideas and thoughts being flung around in hopes that one of them will be somewhat cohesive and along the lines of what the boss wants to hear.
As you can imagine, this is a time-consuming process that often profits the group very little.
The issue here is not with having official sit downs when new ideas will be asked for, but rather in the execution of the sit downs. The participants in the brainstorming session simply need parameters in which to think and work within, and you as the manager of the staff should provide them.
By setting up parameters and limits within which your staff can think and foster new ideas within, they now have something tangible to start working with and bounce off of. Being able to have specific tools given or taken away from your brainstorming session is what will drive your idea flow from non-existent to overflowing.
Why You Need to Set Up “The Box”
When you approach your staff with the request for “The Next Big Idea”, you as the manager need to provide “The Box” as a starting point.
The idea of The Box is that it jump starts your staff’s creativity due to a knowledge of what is expected of them. Be more specific with your questions and inquiries than vague, and try to offer your staff guidelines that will generate more ideas than blank stares.
Coming up with the right questions to ask your staff that will generate ideas as responses is certainly more difficult than just simply asking for innovative ideas, but by asking pointed and thought-provoking questions, it refines and restricts their thought processes rather than having them run wild. Provide your staff with a box to think within by asking directed questions and giving framework for them to work within.
Guide your staff brainstorming sessions to think “Inside of the Box” rather than Out, and the ideas will begin to flow much faster than they would when being asked to think outside of the proverbial box.