Which brainstorming techniques should you use to attack your next innovation challenge? Here are the “super seven” that innovation consultant Bryan Mattimore says have the advantages of being easy to learn, flexible to adapt to different types of creative challenges and are diverse enough to deliver different types of ideas.
Bryan W. Mattimore, in his new book Idea Stormers: How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs, outlines seven ideation techniques that consistently deliver excellent results and can be used to address nearly any kind of creative challenge:
1. Questioning assumptions
Most industries have an orthodoxy – a set of deeply-held, unspoken beliefs that everyone follows when it comes to “how we do things around here.” This is the functional equivalent of a set of blinders, like horses wear. We continue plodding straight ahead, unable to see what lies to the right or left of us. By questioning assumptions during every point of the product or service development process, we can entertain new ideas and possibilities.
Mattimore tells the story of his colleague Gary Fraser, who took over the oral care business unit at Unilever, and had to take on two much larger, deeply entrenched competitors in the toothpaste market, Colgate and Crest. He couldn’t compete with them head-to-head from a product standpoint, and couldn’t possibly outspend them in marketing. The solution was for Fraser and his team to question every facet of their business, including product packaging, pricing and advertising. The result was the world’s first baking soda and peroxide toothpaste, Mentadent, which was very successful.
To use this technique, Mattimore recommends that you first decide how to frame your creative challenge. Next, generate 20 to 30 assumptions, true or false, that you may be making about it. Then pick several of these assumptions and use them as thought starters and idea triggers to generate new ideas. Be sure to consider all aspects of your business, including consumer or customer beliefs, manufacturing, materials, pricing, distribution and product positioning. Read More…