Talking with a business executive recently about her company’s internal innovation efforts and how Brainzooming could enhance them, she noted a creative thinking session the company held previously. The internal innovation person conducted the entire creative thinking session using just one question: “Wouldn’t it be nice if . . . ?” No matter the situation or opportunity the group was addressing with its creative thinking, the entrée to frame the discussion was always about “nice.”
If the company were really solely focused on “nice” as a brand aspiration or consumer experience, I suppose you might return to the same prompt several times and not use multiple creative thinking exercises.
To spend an entire day without moving through multiple creative thinking exercises, however, is neither creatively productive nor creatively fulfilling for participants.
Creative Thinking Exercises that Work
The reason we share so many creative thinking exercises and questions on Brainzooming is that by varying questions you start a group down different paths toward innovative ideas.
For instance, if we were facilitating the creative thinking session for the company looking for “nice,” we’d have incorporated other words to send participants in different creative directions. Consider the creative thinking implications of using these alternative words:
- Scary (challenging ideas)
- Monumental (bigger, perhaps more rare ideas)
- Surprising (unexpected ideas)
- Simpler (streamlines ideas)
- Exciting (thrilling ideas)
- Inspirational (motivating ideas)
- Dramatic (emotional or significant ideas)
- Boring (to identify filters for eliminating humdrum ideas)
See how if you ask a different question by changing just one word you can venture down a very different creative thinking path?
Ask a Different Question
Whether you are trying to prompt creative thinking in others or yourself, take every opportunity to ask a different question! – Mike Brown