Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stretching your brain

Although you might not guess it by looking at me, I have been running most of my life. I started running track, especially distance, in high school and have continued to run off and on for most of my life. One thing I've learned as I've gotten older - the days I run and don't bother to stretch before (and after) the run, I'll pay for the next day in stiff joints and tight muscles. Warming up and stretching is critical to running and exercising.

So, if we need to stretch our muscles to help them do things we do on a regular basis, shouldn't we stretch our brains when we need to do ideation and brainstorming? Think about a typical brainstorming meeting - everyone arrives from doing their regular jobs, cramming in this meeting and already thinking about the next meeting on the schedule. They come from their respective jobs in finance or marketing or sales, very familiar with that day to day routine. The meeting starts and suddenly they are supposed to be nimble and flexible to create and generate ideas in an area or topic outside their traditional functional area, being creative and thinking outside the box.

Now, we know that people like consistency and patterns, and to geet someone out of their pattern may make them uncomfortable without making the change easy and low risk. In most brainstorming and ideation sessions, we've done none of those things - rather just thrown a bunch of people with different jobs and concerns together in a room and asked them to be creative NOW! What happened to warming up, to stretching and making room for some different approaches?

In some of our internal brainstorming sessions, one of our senior guys will often bring in a game - Charades or Pictionary or some other game to get the team thinking differently and to break down the initial barriers. When he opens up Pictionary you can see the collective eye rolls. No one wants to do this - they want to do "real work" and then get back to their "real jobs". However, after 30 minutes or an hour of Pictionary, the team seems much more cohesive and innovative.

I know it can be a hard sell to tell the boss you need a Twister game and Pictionary to be more productive, but I can assure you that exercising your brain without warming up is as risky as exercising your body without stretching. In your next brainstorming session, leave some time for the team to get ready to be creative, rather than thinking they can be creative out of the gate. For further research or other ideas, I'll also point you at Roger von Oech, he of the Ball of Whacks and A Whack on the Side of the Head. Roger has a new blog and is a good resource for ideas, exercises and tools to become more creative.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 5:44 PM

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Roger von Oech said...

Hey Jeffrey,

Thanks for the shout-out. Greatly appreciated! I like the theme of your post. A large portion of the brain is given over to hand and eye functions. So it only makes sense that engaging in activities that force you be dextrous will stimulate your brain. Working with your hands is a great way to warm up your brain -- or relax from doing too much verbal stuff.
http://blog.creativethink.com

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous raman said...

This article is nice I understand the brainstorming is more useful to people If you want to interesting get information visit the same type of site brainstorming

2:35 PM  
Anonymous how to stay erect said...

thanks for sharing..

12:59 AM  
Anonymous wisata kuliner bandung said...

thanks for sharing..

1:00 AM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

thanks for sharing..

1:00 AM  
Anonymous delaying ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

1:00 AM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

thanks for sharing..

1:00 AM  
Anonymous how to last longer in bed said...

thanks for sharing..

1:00 AM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

1:01 AM  
Anonymous how to prolong ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

1:01 AM  
Anonymous how to prevent premature ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Inversiones en oro said...

hello, this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.
Invertir en plata

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Invertir en oro said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous konsultan perusahaan said...

I think people fear idea management and innovation because there's a significant number of ideas that simply won't plan out.......Nice statement.....keep posting

12:19 AM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous parcel lebaran said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

the difference between the content spammers and most corporate innovators is that the smaller

12:20 AM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

I'm writing to you because I just came across a business that I think has great potential. It lets you save money on almost everything. Make money from almost everything,

12:21 AM  
Anonymous konsultan seo said...

If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

12:21 AM  
Anonymous tabungan pendidikan said...

innovation is very natural and happens in the "real world" as new plants and animals colonize new ecological niches.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous mengecilkan perut said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

12:21 AM  
Anonymous how to teach dogs tricks said...

We generally think most specifically about the risk associated with a new product introduction

12:21 AM  
Anonymous easy way to get pregnant said...

I would be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t comment to blogs a lot (in actual fact, this may be my first put up), I don’t think the time period “lurker” is very flattering to a non-posting reader.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous stop pre ejaculation said...

Thanks a lot for this time sharing of innovation about STRETCHING YOUR BRAIN. This is really the best website about innovation i have ever read.

11:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home