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Developing creativity in an organisation


My client is keen to get managers below the board to think more creatively. We have set up a new cross boundary business development team as part of the push to develop a think tank community below senior management. Someone has mentioned a greenbox technique but I wish to know more?
Andy Maggs

6 Responses

  1. Creativity / Think Tanks
    Dear Andy

    I don’t know about a greenbox technique, so I apologise. My concern in reading your email is that you have set up a cros boundary business development team, which in itself is fantastic. However, what contingencies have you set up for evolving the power of that group? Evolution of power ensures that all members of the business team at some time have the opportunity to get involved. It also adds impetus to those participating at any time to be more constructive, rather than creating obstacles.

    One way is to utilise corporate goals as a starting point, invite members of the think tank to work on ideas to achieve that goal (outside the meeting). They may need to be taught to develop ideas – that it, recognise where responsibilities for implementation will lay, what likely obstacles will be incurred, how they will be overcome, the critical path, etc. Some basic skills in all these areas would be useful for everyone so that individuals can work with similar models. These may include mind mapping, fishbone, and I have my own solutional chunking model I use. Where they don’t know how it will impact, then they have responsibility for liaising with the appropriate other departments / individuals to find out. (It may be worth a preliminary get together to toss around some ideas, then devolve the power for investigating implementation of one or two ideas.)

    By equipping the team with these skills, and giving them responsibility for investigating implementation of their ideas, you also train them to be excellent senior managers / directors. It will also mean that their meetings are more focused.

    Hope this is of use to you (or anyone else reading!)

  2. Innovation and Creativity answer
    I suggest you contact ‘What-if’ agents

    They do not have a green box but a garden shed and use this analogy for creative thinking and innovation
    I can put you in touch with them if you want contact of like minds.

  3. Avoid the “Yes But” Syndrome
    Try and avoid the “Yes But” Syndrome (also sometimes seen as “Premature Evaluation”). You see it all the time – some-one asks for new ideas or possibilities, and every idea is shot down with a “Yes but” response of why it won’t work, is impractical, is inappropriate or whatever

    So while creative ideas might need to be evaluated at some point to assess their feasibility, first try and foster an environment where you go for quantity, off the wall, out of the box, and crazy ideas and thinking, and as a later step apply the evaluator thinking to judge practicality.

    Another great way to stifle creativity is to “punish” the person who comes up with a new idea “well, if you think that is such a great idea, why don’t you go and implement it …”

    Clare Howard

  4. Try using de Bonos Six Thinking Hats
    Faced with a situation similar to your own, I have used Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats very successfully. There’s a Peguin paperback of the same name. This should avoid the ‘Premature Evaluation’ syndrome.

    Then try de Bono’s ‘Serious Creativity’ (ISBN 0-00-637958-3) which (although no easy read) can help teams wishing to become more creative.

    If I can help in any way, please get in touch


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