Five Minute Techniques To Build Great Ideas


I think we’ve all had that familiar feeling of boredom/frustration in a meeting at some stage or another that feels like it’s going around in circles.  Same old ideas, lots of “someone should”   - it’s déjà vu of the worst kind.

If you’re looking for a way to crack the code, break the mold and take the road not already travelled 200 times on a challenge you’re having as a team, here’s five ways you can generate some new trains of thought in five short minutes.

1.      Yes, and . . .  – an old technique borrowed from improv comedy schools, this technique involves someone coming up with an idea and as you go around the table you have to say ‘yes, and’ before building on that person’s thoughts.  Keeps things positive and can lead to new tangents that you’d never thought you’d get to.

2.      Start your brainstorming individually and silently.  Group think is defined as ‘the tendency of the members of a group to yield to the desire for consensus or unanimity at the cost of considering alternative courses of action.’  Which is exactly what can happen in a traditional brainstorming scenario.  By starting off a brainstorming session by having everyone spend five minutes coming up with their own individual ideas (without consulting others), you’ll get better ideas and more of them.

3.      Ask yourself – who is the best in the biz at this particular thing? Say, for example, you’re looking to come up with way to better communicate with your clients through email. As a group, examine who is sending emails that you definitely pay attention to every time?  What can you learn from them and what makes them great?

4.      Constrain to unleash. Ironically, sometimes coming up with constraints or ‘what if’ scenarios can lead to new ways of thinking.  For example, what if you had to solve this problem with no budget? Or what if you couldn’t use any form of technology and the solution had to be completely manual? These unrealistic constraints can sometimes lead to new, realistic solutions.

5.      Use a structured feedback methodology – If you’re needing a way to discuss a few ideas you already have, consider the De Bono Hats method of sharing feedback in a group.  Our version of this is asking the group to answer:

  • Why is this a bad idea? (Do this one first to ‘empty the cup’)
  • Why is this a good idea?
  • How could we make this idea better?

If you’re looking to ignite innovation in your organisation, spark fresh thinking and better understand your clients, click here get in touch with us to learn what our programs can do for you and your team.