When people are forced to brainstorm, either in a group or being put on the spot individually, most people can’t assess their most creative thoughts. Innovation depends on creativity and thinking outside the box to come up with solutions and ideas, but most people can’t force a creative state. While time limits can be beneficial to creativity the person that is trying to generate ideas has to be in the correct state, and this is extremely difficult to coordinate with several people. Making sure that the innovation workshop or activity takes this into account and blends individual creativity activities with group collaboration will often result in great results, but for the very best creativity forced brainstorming isn’t the solution.
Most people can assess a problem or task with more creativity when they are given freedom to generate the idea on their own. There are several problems to this approach from the traditional business mindset, including lack of rules, unstructured process, and lack of direct office collaboration. Because the creative thought can happen at any time, companies are better served having a mechanism in place to capture and test all of the ideas that the employees think of, regardless of where they are when they thought of the idea. When the pressure of the formal atmosphere is lifted from the staff they are able to freely associate and vet their own ideas with impunity.
Even though the peak creative state for most people is achieved through free association throughout the course of the day, there are several workshop and workplace activities that can get most people into a creative state. By developing these activities into your innovation process you can ensure that you are putting your employees into the best possible creative state inside the workplace. A combination of these workplace creativity activities and a good innovation process idea capture mechanism will make sure that all of the best ideas are captured, independent of how they were manifested.
The freshest and most creative ideas come to most people when they are relaxed and engaged in a task that is different from the problems that they are supposed to be solving. By making sure that the innovation process includes a way to effectively capture and evaluate these ideas, you can make sure that every idea has a chance to shine. And while innovation workshops may not be the most creative way to innovate, when they are combined within a great innovation process they help to develop a large pool of ideas for the process to test and evaluate; always hoping for the next blockbuster.