What makes a brainstorming session successful? The removal of constraints (and a whole lot of post-it notes). I led a brainstorming workshop for the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows—all of whom are leaders of some of the nation’s most successful healthcare organizations. It was an honor to share some time with them. I wanted to recap a few things I tried to instill into their experience.
1. You Have Far More Assets to Leverage in Innovation Than You Realize.
We did a brief 10-min exercise where they listed out all their assets onto post-its:
- Intellectual property
- Customer databases
- Manufacturing capabilities
- Partners already in place
- Distribution channels and partners
- Subject matter experts
2. Challenges You are Already Facing are an Opportunity for Innovation.
- We brainstormed out all the BIG challenges that face their organization
- We prioritized for impact potential.
3. Setting Down the Rules and Constraints That are Currently Present is Absolutely Critical to Creative Problem-solving.
- We REMOVED ALL CONSTRAINTS. Always brainstorm solutions as if anything is possible.
- Bring constraints back into the mix well after the idea has built momentum around what makes it great.
These 3 little characteristics of good creative problem solving will help you see how you can innovate with what you already have. So simple to write out, but so hard to execute. Your mind will want to go back into reality land way too early. Trust me, the disruptor or competitor around the corner, who is about to change your world for you, is not sitting around thinking about how something WON’T work.
The Health Care Council Fellows did a great job setting down their constraints. By the end of the day, they came to the conclusion that no one is more equipped to disrupt an industry than the leaders in that industry. You don’t need to be a startup to think differently and leapfrog ahead. The only thing you need is the willingness to set down constraints.