For the past two weeks, Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC featured a short series on brainstorming. Today's post concludes what every entrepreneur needs to know about the importance of brainstorming.
Organized ideation uses the brain to storm a problem, hence brainstorming. The father of Brainstorming, Alex Osborn, presented brainstorming with two primary principles. The first principle suggested that judgment should be deferred while ideas are generated. The second principle promoted an environment where the leader understands the importance of quantity and quality of ideas, which emanate from a productive meeting. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the number of ideas proposed in one session dictates the quality of the outcome. Authors Robins and Stern of the book Corporate Creativity underscored the importance of brainstorming. The scholars maintained (p. 50), "brainstorming is intended to promote fluency and flexibility in groups, each associated with creativity. Fluency is the ability to generate many ideas easily; flexibility is about coming up with many different ideas." Another scholar in the 1950s, Guilford, also noted the importance of fluency and flexibility when brainstorming. Guilford supported the perspective that fluency and flexibility contribute to divergent thinking (thinking outside of the box), fostering creativity in the workplace. Osborn persisted in research and revised his brainstorming model to consider three parts: (1) fact-finding, (2) idea-finding, and (3) solution-finding. Brainstorming was further revised by Osborn's partner Sidney Parnes. Sidney Parnes at the Creative Education Foundation assisted Osborn in devising a creativity model known as the Creative Problem-Solving model, which many CEOs apply today. The Creative Problem-Solving model suggests a healthy business climate or work environment indirectly sets the stage for creativity to flourish. So, what do fluency and flexibility look like in healthy workplaces? An example of fluency can be identifying a business strategy to fit the budget of a small business. Fluency may include many ideas on implementing the business strategy; conversely, flexibility may include unique ideas to implement the business strategy and market the product or service. Fluency and flexibility are essential elements of brainstorming that entrepreneurs should adopt. Likewise, it is the responsibility of the leader to cultivate a business climate that allows for employees to exercise brainstorming and other levels of creativity.
Influential business leaders foster a work environment where employees can be fluid and flexible in their thinking. While brainstorming is not required to conduct all business transactions, introducing creativity through brainstorming to a small business must be presented by the entrepreneur/leader. The leader presenting the idea demonstrates that the leader buys into the process. Once employees are cognizant of the business climate that encourages creativity organically, your employees' brainstorming is more than likely to flourish in meetings and outside the workplace. According to Runco (2017), creativity can be found personally and professionally in every environment. This signifies 365 days in a calendar year; your employees will continue to think of ways to enhance, improve, and grow your business. Your role as a leader is to cultivate a business climate that promotes creativity, facilitates sessions, and closely monitors your employees. Why monitor your employees? Monitoring will allow you to witness what motivates your employees to produce more innovative and creative ideas.
Motivation is not the same for every employee. Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC will introduce "Motivating Employees to Spur Creative Ideas" as the next series. To facilitate your brainstorming meeting, coaching, or a free 30 min virtual session, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.