Welcome to the latest installment of Connecting the Dots.
Coming up with novel ideas is often attributed to the brainstorming process, when folks are instructed to table the 'censoring' part of their personalities. But all too often this valuable process is hijacked by disruptive individuals who undermine collaborative efforts.
That's just one of the opening premises of a new book, Smartstorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas. Authors Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer identify these individuals and argue that while these type of folks can put a serious wrinkle in the brainstorming process, they are by no means the sole root cause for why so many brainstorming sessions fail to produce meaningful results.
Rigie and Harmeyer say that there are at least eight reasons that can torpedo the process, among them being lack of planning, lack of skilled leadership, lack of rules and poor follow-through. They address these failings with what they call the 'smartstorming' methodology - a set of principles and key learnings the authors have gleaned from observing and leading successful brainstorming sessions.
This is an eminently readable book, especially if you have ever felt frustrated in a problem-solving meeting where you felt the potential for resolving issues was there but somehow unattainable. Smartstorming lifts the veil on what may seem like a magical process but is really, the authors say, a process that responds favorably to rigorous advance planning and post-followup.
The chapter on idea generation tools and techniques is in itself worth the price of the book. And we fell in love with chapter thirteen, 'The Art of Asking Powerful Questions.' In a age when crowdsourcing is the new normal for our collective consciousness , it's refreshing that Rigie and Harmeyer also give a nod to 'solo smartstorming', showing how individuals can use the same techniques normally reserved for groups to harness their creativity.
Authors: Mitchell Rigie & Keith Harmeyer
Publisher: DogEar Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4575-1662-7