Whatever happened to brainstorming? I can remember doing a lot of it in college and maybe a little during internships, but more recently I haven’t been privy to a good old fashioned brainstorming session. You know the ones I’m talking about – bringing together folks with different viewpoints to share ideas on a topic to foster creativity.
At a recent team meeting, I was reminded of the power of brainstorming and the creativity it generates. In an effort to not succumb to “death by powerpoint”, we spent a lot of time in break-out sessions that challenged us to think outside of the box about our day-to-day roles and responsibilities. One session that really stuck with me was called “Six Thinking Hats”…
According to the Mind Tools website, “Six Thinking Hats” is a “powerful technique that helps you look at important decisions from a number of different perspectives”. The 6 colored hats represent different approaches to solving problems – i.e. red=emotional, black=pessimistic. All team members “wear” the same hat at the same time – to bring collective, like-minded energy to the problem at hand.
In this case, we were given a question to ponder – how can we be more strategic? Our team “put on” our green hats, which represents taking a creative approach problem solving. At first, everyone was a little hesitant to open up, but after about 2 minutes, I was astounded by the number of really good and solid ideas we were able to come up with just by putting our heads together and really focusing on 1 question.
The session brought me back to the lost art of brainstorming (that I don’t do enough of anymore) and the fact that the ideas generated from a group can be much stronger, more thoughtful, and more impactful than those of the individual.
One of our action items as a team will be to spend more time in these types of collaborative sessions and I encourage you to do the same. Fifteen minutes spent focused on a single topic and wearing the right hat can foster some of your most creative solutions yet.
Image source: iStockphoto