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High Impact Ideas & Innovation Exercise


I have been asked to design a short training session on innovation and ideas to improve the way we work in any respect.

These delegates have volunteered to be part of this session so I already have good buy in from them but I really want to "wow" them into going back into the business with real motivation.

I am looking for ideas or exercises which have a high impact with groups to do with innovation and creative thinking.

Any suggestions/ experiences welcome.
Sarah Worthy

4 Responses

  1. Innovation
    Current favourites include Six Thinking Hats and the recent work on Appreciative Inquiry – both found via a search engine. It also useful to look around the BusinessBalls training reosurce site. Have fun!

    Alec McPhedran

  2. Innovation and creativity
    There is lots out there. Here are a couple of books and web sites from my very long creativity and innovation resource list.
    Herrman, N., The Creative Brain, Brain Books 1988
    – A comprehensive and enjoyable read covering modern brain theory and lots on the practical applications. The style of writing and illustration is consistent with the message. The author is a much-respected American creativity trainer.
    Sloane, P., The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills: Powerful Problem-solving Techniques to Ignite Your Team’s Potential , Kogan Page 2003
    – Plenty of examples and tips to develop your skills and those of your team in creative problem solving.
    Von Oech, R., A Whack on the Side of the Head, Thorson 1990
    – An enjoyable nudge to help you see things differently. Full of ideas, concepts and tips. Much favoured by creativity consultants. You can get a set of Whack Pack cards too.
    This comprehensive site covers many variations on the theme of brainstorming, as well as with other techniques for unlocking creativity, links to other sites, journals and publications. – lots of useful links. – tips and exercises. & – good places for resources.
    Best of luck

  3. Exercises

    There lots you can do, get them practicing idea generation techniques like mind mapping, you could split them in to group and get them to brainstorm ideas on whatever is appropriate, you can also get them to do variations on this like using post its instead of pens. You can pick up idea generation techniques from here



  4. high impact but no ‘wow’
    Hi Sarah
    I’ve just completed tutoring a very successful intense two day immersion into Creativity, Innovation and Change on an Open University residential (b822). Only after two days did the penny begin to drop.

    I usually find that most people just want to get on looking for solutions to problems. They usually believe that they have understood the challenge. Quite often they haven’t, so the solutions they find are suboptimal.

    This isn’t very sexy, but creativity in an organisation should start with dumb questions. These are those that put the asker in a position of risk. They are often posed by the newcomer, but the older hands become blind to company problems and stop asking them.
    Instead of “Why” you could try asking “How come” which is lighter and less aggressive.
    As we get so engrossed in work we stop noticing things and the art of asking dumb questions allows us to see again.

    Because we predominantly use our ‘Business Heads’ for thinking at work we become over reliant on its ability to make sense of things (perceive) and make fast assumptions. The ‘Creativity Head’ knows perception can be flawed and actively doubts assumptions. So simple techniques of reframing and rephrasing challenges can lead to different perceptions. Uncovering hidden assumptions takes a lot of practise because they have become so hidden. Make sure your invite strangers who don’t know what the unwritten rules are.

    And when you get to the brainstorm you will ‘brain drain’ arriving at the usual ideas as you run out of connections. Make more by pausing and noticing things and using unrelated stimuli. And recruit those strangers again. Research shows many fold productivity increaseLs through stimuli and diversity.
    Read more : ‘D and his thinking heads’ at



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