A group dedicated to facilitating creativity within individuals, groups, and organizations.
Finding and Fostering the Kernels of Good Ideas
June 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm #73823
Barbara Ann SmolkoParticipant
It’s occurred to me that people are more likely to be creative and problem solve if they have two things; 1) awareness of a specific problem that needs a solution and 2) a way for the kernels of ideas to take root. So I would love to hear input on ways to move people beyond complaining to seeing a problem as something they can think about solving. Also, how do we collect and shepherd good ideas? I’ve done it instinctively, when an idea catches my fancy, but it seems like it should be more intentional. And sometimes an idea has to wait a bit until the timing is right. How do we sustain those ideas until they’re ripe? Appreciate your thoughts!
June 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm #73829
At State, we’ve recently (Feb.) launched an intranet website for employees to submit their good ideas for how to improve the Department. Yes, we get complaints, but the form is set up to collect ideas, not complaints, and almost everyone includes some suggestion of how to fix the problem they identify. This site is modeled in large part on TSA’s IdeaFactory.
Although the program is new, I expect that we will find that many of the ideas are the site are not “ripe” when posted. But because it’s all archived, we can return to it later when the problem resurfaces or worsens. For example, we’ve had near 300 ideas published to the site thus far. Now, we’re about to launch a “challenge” whereby people indicate the three things that would help them to be more efficient or effective in their jobs. This will help us prioritize specific problems. Once we have those problems which we intend to first tackle, we can go back to our archive of good ideas and see which, if any, are possible solutions for the problems at hand.
I’ll be happy to report back later when we learn more from the site and its users!
June 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm #73827
In organizations that I have been a part of, if management takes an interest in the employee complaints AND involves the complainers in the solution that the people who are just complaining for the sake of complaining find some other venue to “gripe” and the others feel a part of solution which usually makes for a MUCH better organization. As far as timing, I have found that if the idea box/complaint departments are given a GOOD process for addressing them the timing will flow with JUST about the right mix
June 17, 2009 at 10:05 pm #73825
Barbara the other discussion topic on de Bono mentions the “Cloud 9 File” – a file or notebook that gets sent around the office regularly asking people for creative solutions. The part I like about that idea is that it keeps moving around the office (everyone sees it once a month or so) so that you build an expectation for people to continually be thinking about new ideas. It also encourages people to add to/ build on other people’s ideas (provide more information, modify it, take it in new directions). This captures some of the value you find in a good brainstorming session.
Molly that’s a very interesting program you describe (I have not yet checked it out). I hope it will contain this sharing/ building on capacity mentioned above. If I read someone else’s entry it might spark ideas for me which in turn might spark new ideas in someone else. There is also the possibility that an idea may not work as a solution to a proposed problem, but may work in an area unanticipated by the person who originally proposed the idea. It raises interesting online collaboration issues.
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