We’ve all been there. Your organization is looking for new ideas on a specific topic. Be it a new product, service or approach. So the usual practice is to call a meeting, get together and be creative in an “idea generating” session. Also known as brainstorming, but when it’s over and you walk out – you realize nothing really innovative was conceived.

But why does this approach not work? There a number of reasons. But most commonly the person organizing or leading the meeting just doesn’t have a clue about innovation and creativity. Below are some of the reasons that hold back the creative process.

Why your next brainstorming session will fail?

1. It starts with a presentation on how it’s been done before

Starting off with a presentation like this sets the tone for the entire meeting. By presenting how it has been done before, people are just going to be thinking about what was said at the beginning. And how it has worked for others and that we would be foolish not to do it ourselves.

Remember folks, the point of a meeting like this meeting is not to be a follower. But to distinguish yourselves from competition!

2. No inspiration

Coming up with creative new ideas is about switching your line of thought to something you’re not used to. Typically in these meetings you’re put into a room you’re all too familiar without any stimuli to provoke creative thinking.

Just telling your attendees to be creative never works! They need something to be inspired by.

3. Discussion groups

Normally, you’re placed into groups of 5 and asked to discuss the topic.

The problem with discussion groups is that there is no direction how the discussion should go nor is there any structure. And is eventually left up to the members of the group to decide how to approach it.

For the most part a dominating character will take the lead in the group and make it their mission to show off their knowledge or authority by telling stories or asking if others have read this or that. All of which is not constructive and in the end is just a waste of time.

4. Clinging to their ideas

When you first hear of the meeting & receive the invite. You immediately have some ideas that you’re passionate about & convinced that they’re the best approach.

The problem here is that you are so wrapped up into your own ideas that you block out or criticize others. Your goal now is to force your idea through, just to prove that you’re right

5. Not thinking differently

As I mentioned before, creativity is about thinking differently and also from different perspectives. Without anything provoking people, your meeting will produce some generic ideas.

In most cases you’re defending your own idea without embracing other people’s suggestions and building upon them.

6. Wrong questions

There’s a chance that the wrong questions are being asked. One issue with it is that you manipulate a question in order to get a specific response.

In any case you might be better off with having a general theme for people to work with.

7. Focusing on what can’t be done

Instead of looking into what can be done. There will be constant opposition about what can’t be done and why you can’t do this.

Again, this brings down morale and limits the possibilities of creative thought. Instead of looking through door, you’re  banging your head against the wall.

In the end it boils down to having something challenge you to think differently. And for the focus to be on the possibilities instead of the limitations of ideas.

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