Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create game-changing products or services. Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP and the creator, and host of Killer Innovations has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer".

This week on Killer Innovations, I will discuss how to use both individual ideation and team ideation to generate disruptive ideas that will create high impact innovations.  

Individual Ideation

When kicking off individual ideation, you need to ensure that the mechanics are in place.  

  • Make sure everyone has a stack of yellow sticky notes and sharpies.
  • They will be asked to write one idea per sticky note.
  • Set the expectation of time and minimum of ideas.
  • No editing.
  • No talking.
  • Write legibly and big.

At the end of time, see how many have hit their idea quota.  Then let them take a break before the next set of exercises.  Now that everyone has their individual ideas in front of them, each person should take turns and go up to a flip chart and place each of their sticky notes on the flipchart and read what they wrote.  Once everyone has shared their ideas, the group should step back and look at the flip chart. In some sessions, I will circle the group and have the team come up with a name for the group of ideas that are the same or nearly the same.  I recorded a video of a grouping exercise I facilitated for a workshop for the US Department of Education. You can find it on my Youtube channel. Next, we want to see if there are any wow ideas.  Hand out to each person on the team four sticky notes. Each person should have their own color so they can know who/what they voted for.  Rules for this exercise:

  • No talking.
  • Place all four of your dots on a specific idea, not a group.  It is okay to place more than one dot per idea. Do not overthink it and do not move other people’s dots.
  • Time the activity (no longer than ten minutes).

You now have everyone’s ideas on the flip chart, grouping of everyone’s ideas into similar overlapping ideas and marked ideas.  

Group Ideation

Innovation is a team sport and that applies to ideation.  The benefit of a group is when we build on each other’s ideas.  So, the next exercise emphasizes looking at the individual ideas and asking how to make them better.  Ground rules for group ideation:

  • One at a time (choose someone else’s idea, not your own).
  • Ideate (think out loud).
  • Let ideas trigger ideas.
  • Build on, develop and expand each other’s ideas.
  • No evaluation.

So, the exercise is:

  • Build on each other’s ideas.
  • Select one idea you are excited about.
  • Add new ideas.
  • Group ideas together.
  • Time the exercise for twenty-five minutes.

The next step is to now rank the groups you have come up with.  It is important that you rank before you dismiss the team. You can learn more about ranking at Killer Innovations or in the chapter of my book.  So, why does this process work?

  • This is not just a group exercise.
  • You get the benefit of individual ideation which is great on generating raw ideas.
  • You get the benefit of group ideation.

These exercises are trusted and used by thousands of organizations and governments around the world.  I would love to hear the results if you try this inside your team or organization. I you need help in setting up a test to see if this will work in your organization, go here.  Put in your contact information and someone will reach out and help you think through how to test it in your organization.  

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

I find it interesting that we usually get from other people what we expect from them.  The longer I live the more I realize the impact attitude has on me. When it comes to success attitude is more important than the past, your education, more than money, more than circumstance, and more than what other people think.  This week on Five Minutes to New Ideas we will discuss the importance of the attitude of an innovation leader. An innovation leader needs to set their expectations high.  Sow hat will your expectations be?

Direct download: Individual_Ideation_Versus_Team_Ideation.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PDT