Let's Have A Brainstorm

You and I are going to have a meeting and put on our green hats so we can have some creative ideas. We're going to ideate for a bit. Put it on your calendar and get ready for a brainstorm.

The irony of putting creativity on a calendar is that you can't have a productive meeting where the topic is creative solutions. In a meeting, you're either speaking, or thinking about speaking.

Does anyone hold the key on innovation? It takes time and team. I've had my share of good ideas, but I can't take too much credit for them. Innovation is a result of the culture and environment which fosters it. Andy Stefanovich has made a career of putting people in situations which force them into a different place, one where they can think differently. I've been learning from him for years.

I have my best ideas in my sleep between 2 and 5 a.m., in the shower, or in my office with the bright overhead lights off and lamps on. Weird? I don't care. Good ideas are a numbers game. If you want to create an environment where good ideas flow, start by encouraging bad ideas to flow. Good ideas come from the safe culture you create and nurture for all ideas. If creativity is a flower, micromanagement is a weed.

As I look back, I remember the failed ventures and projects that never made it off the ground, but no one else does. The people you're impacting remember the stuff that worked, which leads to more permission to innovate.

It's fun to fail publicly now. Well, that one didn't work. That just means I'm closer to one that will. Your audience moves in closer to get a good look at the attempt, not the sure thing. (Read that one again.)

I don't experiment with clients, although some of them ask me to. Trust and culture is too important to bring innovation from the outside. It needs to come from within. The resistance - the black hat - lives inside a team's culture. Practical, proven solutions can come from anywhere, but the real innovations are better when they come from the folks closest to the problem.

// Kyle Sexton is an award-winning marketing strategist and international speaker. His innovations have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, and his book, REMEMBERSHIP - New Thinking for Tomorrow's Membership Organization, is fueling transformations in membership organizations throughout North America.  He can be reached at 888.899.8374 or get his free resources at KyleSexton.com.