Ideate

So this was our chance to flare and I was very pleased with the “flaring” that we did!  The team did a great job of listening to each other and building on ideas without criticism or judgment.  Some crazy ideas were proclaimed, however thoughts that were otherwise craze led to some real breakthroughs.  We started with analogous contexts trying to link processes we know and apply them to restaurant service.  While we touched on a few ideas, it didn’t go very far.  So I tried to apply a technique that I had learned, “yes, and. . . “. While this appeared to be a complete disaster as the story line quickly led to throwing food and water filled objects to waiter is white T-shirts.  Despite the failure of this technique, I think it did serve a purpose.  Our reading refers to “stoke” to “loosen up and become mentally and physically active”.  The ridiculousness of “yes, and. . .” ideation led to other topics that would otherwise be out there, seem a little more normal.  The next method we applied was false faces as we attempted to counter the intuitive context of service at a restaurant.  We debunked theories such as ordering from a menu, sitting down to eat, actual servers and paying for the meal.  This brainstorming opened up a whole new world of opportunities as we sought to understand not the feasibility of the project, but the potential need we could breakthrough.  With so many ideas, we were then able to focus our “how might we statement” and uncover potential solutions.  Now that we were open to all kinds of wacky ideas, we were able to revisit the analogous context method and apply our ideas to similar industries or familiar processes, i.e. gym membership, health-care plans and rental cars.

I would love to apply another technique we covered at work, No Way!  There are so many practices and process that are carried out in my office (especially of a hierarchical nature) that are simply continued because, “that’s how it is done around here.”  It’s almost as if Smithfield hires you for your background and experience and then brings you in to form you into their mold.  I think that is absurd.  Maybe that is why they are hiring so many kids out of college.  I feel strongly that they did/do not want that from me.  I am clearly a very outspoken person; that was obvious in the interview process.  The company realizes there are some personnel deficiencies (women, esp. in management) and hopefully I can be a step toward that change.  So I asked a few people last week when they opposed some of my radical (not really) ideas, “do you think it would get you fired?”  Some looked at me like they weren’t willing to find out, some shrugged as if I had a point.  Going along to get along is a safe place to be, but that’s not ideation and that’s not how progress happens.

I really enjoyed this exercise and my key takeaways are that refraining from judgment is the key to flaring and that people need to be in the right frame of mind to apply their “creative juices”.  We all have them, we just need to be “stoked” sometimes.