"Let’s start brainstorming."
"Give me a new idea to do this."
When was the last time you started your team ideation session with those statements? As harmless as they sound, this can be the very cause of getting your team stuck due to the expectation you set. An expectation that you want your team to be creative right now at this very moment and to generate ideas to help you do something right now.
You may think, 'well, I'm welcoming others' ideas. Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?' This is, in fact, an unhealthy practice because we need to think and experience things differently, and often divergently, to ideate. And most of us are required to do similar things routinely. How can we expect our teams to see and experience new things if we don't permit them to experience things differently?
Plus, most of us want to contribute but we fear of producing bad ideas and disappointing our team. Or of wasting our team's time by bringing up a half-baked idea. I bring this up because the question of ‘how do you start thinking things differently’ has come up multiple times in my workshops recently.
It does not start with simply asking people to be different. It starts with telling people why they have to think and do things differently, and being the enabler by creating a space wherethey can be more curious, ask more questions, and willing to learn more. Be an explorer of sorts. An explorer knows that their best ideas are yet to come but also know that an open mind can do wonders.
When you keep asking, learning, and exploring more, you open yourself up to the wealth of information and resources to work with to find newer solutions. And with that attitude, you will have your team more prepared during the ideation sessions to think of new ideas on their feet because they'd have already spent some time thinking through things.
How will you create a space to allow your team to wonder (and wander) more?