Creativity & Innovation Meetings can solve important company problems and, at the same time, teach advanced creativity procedures.
I have led many such meetings for large and small companies to solve diverse problems, including:
– identifying new products
– improving quality at work
– increasing chemical yield during a complex process
– reducing industrial waste
– designing an environmentally safe chemical plant
– lowering costs and increasing effectiveness of environmental cleanup for a chemical company
– developing a new technology for manufacturing
– handling manufacturing waste for an automobile parts manufacturer.
I consider problem-solving creativity & innovation meetings the most effective way to learn creative thinking and to solve important problems creatively at work.
They produce hundreds of ideas, which participants screen to produce excellent proposals. The high quality and creativeness of the solutions amaze and delight.
I led a 3 day creativity & innovation meeting for 42 people in a moderate sized corporation in Ann Arbor, MI, to identify new products.
The meeting was arranged by the Marketing Vice President. Present were the CEO, its President, its vice-presidents and managers of sales, marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and finance, and the directors of personnel and quality.
The rest of the 42 people present were key professionals in sales, marketing, customer relations, industrial design, manufacturing, engineering, and finance.
The 42 people formed 6 creativity teams of 7 people each.
Each person read sections of my creativity & innovation book before the meeting.
The goal was to generate novel and unexpected ideas for new products, and to select new product concepts for further development in a way that upgraded the current approach and raised future creativity levels, showed how to use creativity principles for problem solving, enhanced synergy in the company and built team participation.
The company CEO started the meeting with a discussion of these goals.
This was followed by introductions and agenda, the importance of a creative atmosphere, using trigger-ideas to spark better ideas, and generating ideas for new products using creativity procedures.
The second session helped the participants to use advanced creativity procedures to boost creative thinking when solving problems.
The third session consisted of using special advanced creativity procedures to generate new product ideas.
About 750 ideas for new products were displayed in the meeting room.
During the fourth session, each participant looked over the ideas, selected and combined those that were of potential use into a one page proposal for a new product.
During the fifth session, these proposals were shared with their creativity team for improvement.
The one page proposals were revised and handed in for later consideration.
Each creativity team then developed its own blockbuster idea for a new product either by using ideas of its members, or a different idea.
During the last session, each creativity team presented its blockbuster idea on flip chart paper to the participants in the creativity meeting, and received ideas for improvement from everyone.
It was an exciting, constructive time.
The evaluations of this creativity meeting were very positive.
Top management received many ideas for new products, among them real gems.
In addition, the company received 42 one page written proposals for new products, one from each participant, many of them unexpected.
And each creativity team had produced one blockbuster idea for a new product. The executives thought the time and money well spent.
I was later told that two proposals were accepted for commercial development!
Guest Author: Ed Glassman
This article is taken from his book Team Creativity At Work I and II: Creative Problem Solving At Its Best.
Ed Glassman lives in Moore County, NC, where he wrote a column on “Creativity At Work’’ two times a week for the Citizen’s News-Record and a column on “Business Creativity” for the Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh. A Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he lived in Chapel Hill, NC for 34 years and wrote several books on creativity at work. He founded the Program For Team Excellence and Creativity at the university.
He led problem-solving creativity meetings and creative thinking workshops-seminars for many large and small companies. He was a ‘Guggenheim Foundation Fellow’ at Stanford University and a ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the ‘Center For Creative Leadership’ in Greensboro, NC.
©2010 by Edward Glassman. Ph.D.