SO WHAT? – AN IDEATION CHALLENGE

‘SO WHAT?’ Two words that are a reciprocal challenge (dictionary term) to inspire people to identify what has heart and meaning for them.  A slightly irreverent, ‘what are you gonna do?’

‘SO WHAT?’ Two words that evolve team conversation to the next step – ACTION.  And it works so much better than asking ‘why?’ The word, ‘why,’ stops idea flow and causes people to defend their ideas rather than evolve them.

And so, we created a visual thinking tool that encourages ‘So What?’ conversations.

The So What visual thinking cool tool can:

  • Ground your team’s synthesis of information in its key insights to build knowledge.
  • Provide a forum for dialogue about what are the most important actions for the team to take.

You can play with what headings you want to use for the sections –  use product or service areas as titles, identify important areas to create ideas from your key learnings.

Think simple for your headings – sometime a simple approach for a team discussion when there are lots of ideas is to create headings such as:

  • Start Doing, Stop Doing, and Do More
  • What’s Working, What’s Not Working, Wishes

10.0-So-What_L-30 SoWhatFilledInTry a ‘SO WHAT’ approach at your next team meeting to enable the Facilitative Leader in you!

JUST ADD PICTURES

“You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

We love to work with pictures in all sorts of ways!  Because truth be told, they can sometimes be worth even more than 1,000 words. They enhance our creativity to improve communication, generate new ways of thinking, jump-start stalled projects, and take us to places we didn’t know we could go to amp up our imagination.

We built pictures into our facilitation practice and the teams we work with asked for them, so we created the Let the Picture Pick You Deck, inspiring images that can transport you to new places of understanding and knowledge.

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Here’s some Team Activities to get your started with pictures:

“Getting to Know You’ Warm Up – Invite each team member to choose a picture that represents something about themselves. Ask them to find someone else they don’t know very well. Then instruct everyone to share with their picture and how it represents them to their partner (share only what they want to). Invite everyone to switch partners and share again. Repeat one more time, then have everyone share one thing about themselves to the whole group.

Pulse Check – Invite each team member to choose a picture that captures how they are feeling and/or what they are thinking.  Ask everyone to share in pairs, clusters or with the full group.

Envisioning Success – Invite each team member to choose a picture that represents their personal BEST and BRIGHTEST expectations for the meeting or project. Give everyone a few moments to think of a title for their picture.  One by one, ask each person to share their picture, title and what Success Looks Like for them.  After everyone has shared, as a team, identify the common elements of success and capture on a chart pad or graphic template such as Circle Around or Success Looks Like.

Just add pictures and enjoy the boost in team CREATIVITY!

Working Visually – PPCO (creativity lingo:)

We love all things visual and creative!  An all- time favorite template, Top of the Mountain, is simple yet empowers conversations that create knowledge and inspired action.

The “Top of the Mountain” graphic allows you to use visual thinking to refine, develop or assess what’s working/not working about an idea. Working as a team you quickly and visually sort out what’s working, see what other potential it might have, articulate any problems or concerns and then immediately apply solutions (or opportunities). The visual metaphor allows groups the freedom to explore the good, knowing they’ll have a chance to play the critic and voice their concerns to build it into something better.

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This versatile template can hold the space and focus conversation to make things better, improve an idea, and provide constructive feedback. Here is one way to work with Top of the Mountain in the Development phase of innovation. Often referred to in the creativity field as PPCO, here’s how we make it visual:

  1. Focus on the Positive, what works or the benefits (represented by the reaching the “Top of the Mountain”). Encourage everyone to stay open to how the idea might be great. The team identifies all of the things that are good about the idea or address the challenge, to reach the goal*.
  2. Then, identify the Possibilities or other things that might be peeking out from behind the cloud like a ray of sunshine. What aren’t you sure about, but see as potential.
  3. Next (and this is crucial) – air all Concerns (on the mountain range). Play devil’s advocate about all of the reasons the idea might not work, make notes of what needs to be overcome in order to reach the summit.
  4. The final step is to utilize the pathway for all possible solutions and Opportunities. Work with the team to identify one or more possible solutions to each of the concerns on the mountain. What information do you need or what additional features need to be included?
  5. Now step back and look at the bigger picture, what do you notice and where does passion and creativity lead the group, where does it inspire you? It’s time to converge and move forward with the refined and improved idea (plus a bunch more new ideas too).

This favorite tool is simple and so effective. Who’s ready to give it a shot and see some amazing results?

*(we love to use sticky notes – with one idea on each. More about this on our website)

Where do you go to do inspired work?

Water is a Place of Inspiration

When focused, creative, deep thinking work is needed, where do you go to be inspired?

I find my routine office space just doesn’t fit the bill when I’m trying to synthesize information and knowledge.  That’s when I find a new place or time to empower my highest skills.  I …

  • take my work to the park. Of course, this really only works in the summer here in the north, if you want to be outside.  If you have a small team, consider renting a lodge for the day or a pavilion.
  • find another space at a different building within my company. If you work for a large company, they likely have rooms to reserve in different buildings.
  • go to a friend’s house, one that has their business in their home. Chances are they may have a space just right for spreading out for the day to do your deep thinking, alone or with a small team.
  • work in a different time of day, just for a specific project.  For me, it is early, early morning or late at night after everyone in my house has gone to sleep.
  • break the work into chunks and inspire my creativity with seemingly unrelated activities that activate my right brain, such as taking a walk, collaging with magazine pictures, listening to Mozart, baking.  Those are my ways and you probably have different ways to activate your right brain.

Don’t be shy about making the space or time fit the important work you want to get done;  that is what keeps your business moving forward.

Let us know how you inspire your own magic,  we like to be inspired to take our own magic to higher and higher levels.

BIG Brainstorming

Every time I print, pack and ship our magical Circle Around templates I’m almost giddy with excitement, wondering how they’ll be used this time.  I just love Circle Arounds.  I love the simplicity of a circle for gathering themes, brainstorming ideas, or discovering connections. I love the complexity of a circle to go deeper into connections, provide a holistic view, engage creativity.

Recently, I shipped ten wall size Circle Arounds, they’re BIG, 4’ x 3’ in size.   I learned they’ll be used for Brainstorming Ideas.  YAY!  I imagine a room full of people coming together to brainstorm and make new, innovative connections.  The room itself is prepared to enhance the power of people’s hearts and minds — colorful markers, sticky notes, sharpies, and other cool tools that encourage creativity.

For perspective, ten wall sized Circle Arounds collectively take up 120 square feet.  On a wall it might be 20ft x 6ft, or 40ft x 3ft.  WOW, that’s BIG brainstorming!  Hmmm … Or maybe they’ll be used on ten tables with people sitting in a circle having a brainstorming conversation.

I happily imagine what the brainstormers will learn when they step back and see the patterns, move from table to table (or wall to wall), have discussion about the common connections and themes,  bring their seed ideas into focus,  and converge on the top most intriguing or most applicable or most stretching ideas … and then create action steps.

I just love CIRCLE AROUND templates. Magic!