Brainstorming with IdeaScale

Brainstorming with IdeaScaleIn my previous blog post, I discussed blue sky ideation. In this blog post, I’ll discuss how we can draw from brainstorming techniques to configure IdeaScale to support your organization in generating and collecting fresh and novel ideas.

Last week, I enjoyed the latest episode of the Stanford Innovation Lab podcast about effective advance planning for a successful brainstorming session.

These were my key takeaways:

(1) Remove authority from the room so participants can speak freely

(2) Introduce time constraints.

(3) Position participants to put focus on the problem rather than one-another

(4) Remind participants to reserve judgement, and to generate as many ideas as possible

(5) Provide stimuli to inspire free association and encourage novelty

(6) Reframe* the problem: “”How would you solve the problem…

  • …if you had no money at all?”
  • …if you had a million dollars?”
  • …20 years in the past?”
  • …20 years in the future?”
  • …for a 5 year old?”
  • …for a 95 year old?”

*Tina Seelig’s go-to questions for reframing.

Here’s how you can translate these takeaways directly into the campaign structure and features on your IdeaScale platform:

  1. Run a private campaign that is not visible to the boss** and is facilitated by a neutral party. The participants should be of similar seniority.
  2. Run a time-limited sprint campaign for a 1, 3, or 5 days, and make sure the Campaign Countdown is visible.
  3. Accompany the “Challenge Statement” with a compelling image to focus attention on the problem statement or call to action.
  4. In the “Challenge Statement” remind participants to reserve judgement, and to generate as many ideas as possible. Turn off voting for the brainstorming period. You can turn it on again later, when you’re ready to prioritize ideas.
  5. Use the “Campaign Brief” to highlight articles, images, facts, quotes, videos or other material that can stimulate free-association and ideation.
  6. Use custom fields on the idea submission form to reframe the problem.

Other tips for running a successful brainstorming sprint on IdeaScale:

  1. Make sure your participants know about it ahead of time and block out time in their calendar to participate. If you are running a multi day sprint, they should block out time each day. If it is a one-day sprint, I recommend they block out 20 minutes three times throughout the day.
  2. Turn on real time notification so the participants are notified about new ideas as they accumulate.
  3. Incentivize quantity over quality by setting an ambitious target for number of ideas submitted by the group during the sprint. I like to aim for 100 ideas during a sprint.
  4. Avoid providing a monetary incentive. Research shows that monetary incentives inhibit creativity.
  5. Encourage your participants to draw sketches, snap a photo and attach it to their idea or comment.
  6. Encourage participants to build on one another’s ideas. Use comments with @mention.

I wish you all the best in running a successful brainstorming campaign on IdeaScale. If you have any questions, please be sure to check in with your Solution Architect or Innovation Strategist.

**A caveat: Removing the senior leadership altogether can reduce motivation if your crowd takes this as an indication of no senior-level buy-in, and nothing will come of this brainstorming session. Instead, communicate that, once the brainstorm is complete, there will be a more focused phase in which the most promising ideas will be refined and vetted and then presented to the senior leadership for implementation.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Whitney Bernstein, Innovation Architect at IdeaScale

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