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Getting Input to Maximize Creativity

January 26, 2011

Your supervisor requests that you hold a meeting with the development team to discuss strategies to attract new clients. You want to ensure success and know that this can only be accomplished with the input of your team members. In fact behavioural scientist, Patrick Laughlin has shown in his book Group Problem Solving, that getting input from a group can produce a better outcome than relying solely on one problem solver. Here are 5 tips when asking for input :

Identify the problem before informing others of your goals and objectives. This gives them time to consider their approach to the problem before you suggest yours.

Be clear on the goals so others know what the ultimate objective is. Display these goals publicly so they can keep them on the top of their minds.

Brainstorm. Brainstorming is the process of collecting many ideas without immediate judgement according to its founder, Alex F. Osborn. Refrain from evaluating ideas in this phase the bigger and more outlandish the better. By holding off on evaluation you set the stage for creativity.

Let everyone share their ideas. In a group the people who are more outgoing or outspoken are likely to dominate the discussion. Overcome this barrier by allowing people to choose between sharing their ideas out loud or jotting them down on a cue card.

Take the most concrete ideas and develop brief keywords or phrases for them. In Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Noah J. Goldstein and coauthors remind us that although leaders should be open to the diversity of many ideas, they have final say. The leader should comb through the suggested ideas and note the most promising ones on cue cards. Next arrange the cue cards on a table to spell out a complete strategy. Group members should be given the chance to alter the arrangement by swapping out cards or adding to areas for an overall stronger fit.

Interested in this week’s tip? Check out these great reads:

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