You can send a meeting request for ideas, and cross your fingers. It might work… and it might not.

I don’t think you can convoke ideas. They come as they want and when they want. Questions I would raise are:

  • Do you feed your brain enough to create the opportunity of meeting your best new ideas?
  • Is your mind focused enough on your goals to identify a good idea when it crosses your way?

In many organizations, teams plan workshops, creativity sessions, brainstorms… It sounds like good practices to generate new ideas, stimulate creativity and make innovation possible. On paper, it looks like a reasonable process.

On experience, I’ve witnessed the best ideas coming from the least predictable sources and at the most unexpected moments.

Along the path of my career, I’ve built a strong belief that ideas are everywhere. Everyone sees it and can access it. But they appear as spare parts. As a creative person, your special talent is not to create an idea from the void; your talent is to gather the existing elements of the idea and shape it into an actionable plan to answer a question or solve a problem.

The idea does not come from a blank page. Creativity is the ability to explore the environment where your best chances are to meet a good idea, but also stroll along unexpected country lanes. If you dive into the deepness of the question you’re trying to answer and alternatively look at the clouds, you’ll come to a point where your brain blends an incredible value. Ideas come from crude and mixed-up info. The creative person sees the idea through this chaotic amount of info: how many people looked at birds flying and how many converted it in the design of a new airplane wing?

Where innovation is, there is also the ability to solve a problem with a good idea. And a good idea reaches its top level when the solution perfectly solves the problem and turns the problem-solving process into an opportunity of bringing a leveraged added value.

It is so exciting to gather a team for a creativity session. But beforehand, I would recommend that everyone has a clear vision of the problem or the question at stake. It is a critical prerequisite to a successful creativity session that each stakeholder knows the goal of the idea generation process.

Piling ideas on ideas can give the illusion of creativity but can get the project goals lost along the way.

What is your KPI for creativity: number of ideas or number of problems solved with a true solution?