Better Inventions – Getting the Most Out Of Your Brain
Author note: Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to read this. I feel an obligation for every reader to provide you with value in return for your time.
In a previous article, I shared with you an overview of Quantum Idea Generation 2.0. From that you learned that this creative idea generating method is a true inventing and innovation best practice. In this article, I focus on one of the four elements – stimulus – that drives the ability of Quantum Idea Generation 2.0 to consistently generate at least 12 X more ideas than brainstorming.
At my inventing company, Innovate2Grow Experts (i2ge.com) our team of highly successful Professional Inventors always uses Quantum Idea Generation to generate the ideas that help companies double their innovation success rate. We have used Quantum Idea Generation to invent well over 25,000 concepts that has produced many, many successful new products, including many that have achieved your one sales of over $100 million.
Doug Hall of Eureka Ranch pioneered this idea generation method.
Oklahoma State University conducted two paired comparison research studies of his idea generating method – Quantum Idea Generation. Both studies concluded that version 1.0 produced 12 X more ideas than brainstorming.
The Innovate2Grow Experts team experimented and eventually developed Quantum Idea Generation 2.0. Our experience clearly suggests that it regularly produces about 20 X more ideas than brainstorming.
The quality of ideas produced by Quantum Idea Generation is dramatically higher than brainstorming and you get ideas from this method that you would never get from brainstorming.
Left/Right Brain Creativity Introduction
In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the topic of how you bring your understanding of the brain types—left and right brain thinkers– into an idea generating session where you want to invent new products. You can immediately start using the help in this article.
As you plan for an important innovation idea generating session, make sure you plan to understand the makeup of brain types in your session so that you can bring in the best idea generating exercises that best fit the brain types in the session. You can do this by Goggling “left and right brain assessment.” You will find three options that you can use to have everyone in your session take the assessment.
This article covers important “must haves” in planning idea generating exercises based on brain types and provides some real brain type idea generating exercise examples.
Understanding Brain Types for Optimal Creativity
Some people believe that there are creative types and not creative types. Other people believe that you are either born creative or not born creative. These are myths. Research study after research study consistently proves that virtually all people can be equally creative. The challenge is that left brained thinkers and right brain thinkers go about developing new ideas very differently. Traditionally left brained thinkers are logical, love facts, methodical, and are more comfortable looking at the parts of a problem instead of the whole problem. On the other hand, right brain thinkers are people who love looking at the big picture, think more emotionally and intuitively, and like visuals and pictures for more than charts of numbers.
Knowing Brain Types: How to Create an Inventing Session
Here is what do you do with what you’ve learned having everyone take the online left and right brain assessment.
If your group is 60% or more left brain, primarily use left brain idea generating exercises, which I’ll cover in a moment.
Conversely, if your group is 60% or more, primarily use right brain idea generating exercises.
If there is a fairly even split between left and right brain participants, you will probably want to start with some left brain exercises. Depending upon how positively people react to the process, you can continue with mostly left brain with occasional right brain exercises or if the reaction is not positive consider using mostly right brain exercises with an occasional left brain exercise.
Examples of Left and Right Brain Creative Exercises
Left Brain Exercise Example
These start by giving the group an assignment. For example, “in this exercise you are asked to generate ideas to create a 50% improvement in our customer service scores.”
Before people are asked to generate ideas, there can often be a stimulus presentation that precedes the request. From the stimulus podcast it could be a broader perspective or relevant developments stimulus presentation.
Left brained people like to start generating ideas on their own. So the first step is asking people to take out a writing pad and working alone to write down ideas to accomplish this goal.
In the next step, they are asked to share their ideas with one other person. The goal is to make each other’s ideas bigger and better.
In the next step, they are asked to share their ideas in a group of four. The goal is the same – make ideas bigger and better.
In the last step the four people share their ideas with the larger group to get feedback and improvements.
This is a traditional and highly effective left brain idea generating exercise.
It can be followed up by another sequence of steps where people are asked to take the top 2-4 ideas from the previous exercise and make them better and much bigger.
Right Brain Exercise Example
These start by giving each group of four people an assignment. For example, “in this exercise you are asked to generate ideas to create a 50% improvement in our customer service scores.”
You will immediately see how dramatically different right brain exercises are from left brain exercises.
People are given Post It notes and a pen. They are shown images on the screen that may or may not have any relevance to the idea generating need. For example, they could be shown an image of a happy customer followed by an image of a polar bear on an ice flow.
As each person sees the image, they very quickly write down single words on a Post-it that come to mind when they see the image. They are asked to write down the very first words that come to mind – no judging allowed.
After all the images have been viewed and all the Post Its written, they are mounted onto a sheet. There are squares numbered 2-12– these numbers correspond to the results that can come from rolling dice. The four people in a group put the notes evenly on all the squares.
The facilitator then rolls the dice and calls out a number. The top note on that number is put onto a flipchart page. After rolling the dice about four times and getting four different notes put onto the flipchart page, the group of four people is given a new task.
Using the four randomly chosen words on their flipchart page, they are to generate ideas that are capable of achieving the objective.
Right brained people love this kind of exercise. It’s fun. It gives them tremendous freedom. They love the spontaneous interaction with others.
Left Brain People Are Distressed with Right Brain Exercises
I once ran a session that was almost exclusively made up of left brain people. The energy in the room was not as high as I needed it to be. I threw in a right brain exercise like the one I just discussed. Two minutes into the exercise the senior person from the client said, “Richard, do you have any idea what you’re doing?” I responded by saying, “Yes. Please trust me. You may be surprised how productive this is.” And they were surprised – the ideas were surprisingly breakthrough and on target.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to read this. I feel an obligation for every reader to provide you with value in return for your time.
image credit: ravepubs.com
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Richard Haasnoot has spent most of his career in and around innovation – senior leader at Procter & Gamble and Gallo, professor at Arizona State University, author of six books, and a successful entrepreneur in the innovation and creativity business. He’s a regular podcaster. Check out i2ge.com and bluesagecreative.com. Follow him @Innovate2Grow