The Art Of Brainstorming In The 21st century!

What I like more in the social media and all these internet and web stuff is the easiness of sharing, connecting and commenting on each others’ ideas. Social Media is doing its job and helping people getting more into sharing, communicating, and building up on others’ ideas. People is becoming more open to exercise their own creativity and innovatory abilities. People like to share and comment on other’s work, obviously that this is much easier today than it was a couple of years ago, nevertheless, this social change brought by the advancement in technology is boosting the whole phenomenon. Commenting, sharing and building up on other’s ideas is for me the basis of Brainstorming! Online or Offline, Brainstorming is a powerful tool and in my point of view, a competitive advantage for those doing it. Brainstorming has become a tool to generate a higher level of innovation and boost creativity. Honestly speaking I am a huge fun of brainstorms! I know that sometimes one ends up with a bunch of people trying to brainstorm and nothing happens. Though, the right question here is the Why! Why is it not working?

For several different reasons like, wrong people or place, or more important, wrong leader. So, another key question is, How can you take fully advantage of its amazing potential? For starters, Brainstorming only works if people is doing it in fully awareness of what it is at stake and able to speak freely. Meaning, only if you have a strong team spirit, a motivated team and you rewards their participation and willingness to share you will be able to profit from it. However, not having the “right” leader in charge of stirring, coordinating and conducting the whole meeting it is also a common and the most important mistakes! Even for brainstorms you need some order and rules, and nothing better to do that than having someone capable of leading the whole discussion. If you want to have a good, efficient, and fruitful brainstorming you must appoint a Leader to be in charge.

Another key question again, What kind of traits must be present in a Brainstorm Leader? In my point of view, first of all you will need someone with a good sense of what a Shaper and an Evaluator are. A Shaper will challenge people, be dynamic, provide the drive and courage to overcome obstacles and take some action. On the other side as an Evaluator, she will be sober, strategic, logical and more important she will see all the options and keep track on the good ones. And on top of everything, you will need someone who has a good sense of humor, a sharp common sense, an ability to stir ideas in order to think outside the box, a good moderator and communicator. Someone who knows how to ignite innovation and creativity, motivates people to build up on others ideas and suggestions, and more important someone who does not judge or inhibit people to take risks or share their opinions!

If Brainstorming can be seen as a competitive advantage, and I believe it can, companies must pay more attention to it and have better leaders to manage it. I have seen amazing brainstorm sessions where solutions are found, new ideas brought in to the table and a boost in creativity and innovation accomplished! If companies must innovate and be creative nothing better than start using social media to do it but also never forget to do it offline, in-house with your company’s employees. You will be surprised with what you end up with, an amazing set of creative and innovatory ideas.

Tip: Include brainstorming in your weekly tasks, do it at least once a week and you will see the changes after a couple of months! Your company will be much more open to new ideas, creating and innovating more, and your team will be more motivated and productive than ever.

Do not hesitate in contacting us if you want some more tips on Brainstorming or Share tips with us!

Similar Posts: Words for Starters, How much time would you like to invest innovating and creating?Don’t worry, Be creative!Being just a click away!Decisions: a headache or an opportunity?Vision, Strategy and Implementation! How About People?

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Decisions: a headache or an opportunity?

I have been noticing lately that too many people face decision making with tremendous difficulty, like it was a headache or a negative thing…! Well, although I understand way people feel such a terrible pain, I could not disagree more with that behavior and negativism. Contrariwise, I look at decisions as an opportunity to do something differently or try something new. When I face a situation where I have to take a decision, I normally look at it as a positive thing rather then a headache!

As I mentioned in one of my latest posts – Stop the routine, before the routine stops youroutines can keep you off from being competitive, creative and also dynamic; three key traits for the 21st century. Routine can move you away from innovative paths and future oriented approaches, professionally or privately speaking. Decision-making can also be helpful and part of being creative, innovative or future-oriented! Entrepreneurship and Leadership is also about how to face decision-making, transforming this into opportunities. Opportunities to start something new or do something ordinary in a different and more competitive way. An entrepreneur should not let her company reach a point of no-turn-back, a position where it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to do a turnaround. Entrepreneurs and Leaders in general should be very attentive towards their company, avoiding being caught in a compromising situation such as a weak market positioning or an unappropriated team – a team with the wrong skills and profile. Decision-making situations along with a no-routine policy can help a company staying competitive and keeping a strong market positioning. So, in my viewpoint, decisions are an opportunity to do better, differently and fight routine back. Next time you face a decision-making situation look at it as an opportunity and not as a headache and you will see how great things can be when you have the adequate behavior toward situations like decision-making or routine stuations!

Decisions are opportunities, and opportunities are rare, so please take it wisely!

Diversity: the secret ingredient of success!

How important is diversity for your business? A question that any single entrepreneur should ask when starting a company. Nowadays it is quite common to hear companies saying out loud that they have a diversity policy regarding their people and teams. Though, I must say that too many times this is just a branding campaign made convey a message of “respect” by diversity to its key stakeholders. But, in some countries there are quotas ( a minimum percentage) that companies must fulfill regarding certain factors of discrimination, like gender or ethnicity. Nevertheless, a quota is just a quota, and unfortunately it does not change mentalities or real discrimination! Howsoever, it is some times the only way to achieve equal treatment and opportunity to everybody!

A more interesting approach to diversity can only happen after the acknowledgment of its positiveness toward human kind’s evolution. In my point of view, it is amazingly important what a company, a business, can gain with a strong and real diversity policy. However, for this to be truly accomplished, the Human Resources Department (aka People Department aka Human Capital Department aka other any name used for the department running the department related to everything related to people) should have a seat at the board of directors, the place where every single corporate and business strategy is discussed. Why? Well, how can a company define a business strategy without having a serious and well done analysis on the needs and impacts of it on the company’s most precious “asset”, its people? It is, in my viewpoint, impossible to define and implement a business strategy without having the responsible for the people strategy seated at the Board’s table discussing and brainstorming on the company’s key issues. I am leaving this subject for another post or posts, due to the complexity of the subject! I am now more interested in discussing a more specific subject: how can diversity be faced as a competitive advantage for your business? I have written about non-regular factors of competitiveness like happiness, sense of humor, motivation, or people in  general. I am here today to discuss diversity as a factor of competitiveness! How can it work? Well, let’s start by explaining what diversity means to me, it means people with different: cultural background, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or demographics. Although, my definition is not a scientific one, it is the way I perceived reality! Reality is full of differences, people absorb that differences, becoming different themselves! Globalization brought together people from different regions, countries, continents. People with different ways of living, believes or faiths. People with different social, cultural, educational, religious backgrounds, that are mixing and evolving together and generating an enriched melting pot full of diversity! These richness can and should be used by companies and organizations in a positive and inclusive way! Companies should be the privileged place where the melting pot happens, and grow! Why? Because diversity, in this sense, can help finding new ways of working, new ideas, innovation, new experiences, new approaches, …! An old saying says: Two heads think better than one! I would like to add that two “different” heads can make miracles! Creativity and innovation are boosted through diversity, and a company can gain a lot by having a diversity policy! Even us, mere human beings, can profit from the interaction with diversity, people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. However, to do so, companies and people must have an open-mind and a true respect by other’s opinions and believes.

Myself, I have learned a lot by interacting with people with different ethnicities, and cultural and religious backgrounds! I have seen the melting pot in action, and I must say that it is amazing the high level results companies can achieve if working with diversity!

Vision, Strategy and Implementation! How About People?

Along my life I have seen a lot of awkward things! But the worst was to see a company with no strategy and a leader without vision! How can a business survive if it has no vision? A simple dream to be accomplished or a line in the horizon to be pursuit ? How can one survive without goals and objectives? Well, unfortunately a lot of companies do the same mistake over and over! First, they don’t have a vision; Second, they don’t have a strategy because they don’t have a vision; And, third, they hire a manager to manage a company with no vision nor strategy. what kind of people can they hire? A no-leader for sure, because no leader would accept a challenge when the company has no vision nor strategy. The only case where I can see a leader accepting this challenging is the case where she has a mandate to change it! Develop a vision and design a strategy! Although you have a vision and a strategy, you are still missing the last part of it, a plan to implement it! Again, I have seen a lot of companies ruining their positioning due to a wrong implementation plan! Easily one can say that to have the right start up base you need a vision, a strategy and an implementation plan! Obviously that you can have all of this and still fail, so another key ingredient is people! Talented people, high potential people, committed people, motivated people, creative people, innovative people…Well, I think you understood my viewpoint here. I know that the idea of having a triangle is much more sexy than a square though, here we are dealing with a square! Vision, Strategy, Implementation & People: a square that gives a company a truly opportunity to succeed! Nevertheless, don’t forget that people must be led and motivated, and that not only the vision, strategy and implementation are important!

An amazing Japanese old saying says: “Vision without Action is a daydream, but Action without Vision is a nightmare” and I would like to add: Vision and Action without people are Impossible! People Management is key to win the challenges ahead!

Error: the good, the bad and the unavoidable!

A few months ago I wrote about failing and how can failing be extremely positive on your journey toward success – Have You Ever Failed?. In the same way that failing is, in my opinion, positive as part of the learning process to build something, making mistakes can also be very positive. Errors are part of the growing and learning process and can help you adapting to our word too. When everything is changing at a fast pace, it is normal that what works today can be an error tomorrow and vice-verse. Therefore, trial-and-error starts to be a good way of doing something! Solutions to problems are less definitive. So, I believe that making calculated mistakes can be a way of behaving. However, do not start making mistakes just because you have an authorization to it. An error is a positive thing when it helped advancing into the “unknown”, a way of facing a volatile situation, or a different approach for an ordinary problem in a different environment.

Although I think errors can be very positive, I must say that the systematic error without any special reason is to me a sign of a bad work and incompetence. Errors must lead to lessons learned, a step closer to a better solution, or a new approach to an old situation. If an error does not lead to something or is systematic, then you are facing incompetence, and spoiling resources that are normally scarce.

Final question: are Errors a positive thing? Yes! But they must lead to something, do not afraid making mistakes is a positive thing until the moment you fail because you did not care or understood what was at stake. The threshold here is quite thin and appears in a blur way! So, be prepared, do your best up-front, and be reasonable. You will see that even if the result is not positive you have learned and can take away some lessons from what happened. Learning with your mistakes is key to your success in21st century. Though, chose your errors wisely, it seems difficult but is doable! Fully experience your “good” errors, avoid the “bad”, and deal efficiently with the “unavoidable” ones.

Ah, and face your challenges with creativity, innovation, open mind, try to avoid spoiling resources, and care about the environment by being “green” !

Have you ever failed?

You’ve never failed? No? Are you sure that you take risks and face challenges?

You know that fail is allowed. Only by failing one learns a lot of important things, things that will be very useful like: know how to rise again, know how to “better” fail or even release some of the accumulated steam when facing a stressful situation. Succeed and fail are two faces of the same coin, one may end up never assisting to one of them. Nevertheless, succeed might have different meanings accordingly to different aspects and ways of facing life. Well, for me succeeding comes along with risking, going out of comfort zones or trying out new solutions. Succeed comes with not being afraid of the unknown, it comes also with the ability to create something new without having a manual, innovate. Regarding failing, it is a straightforward concept, not difficult to understand what it means.

However, one may say that one has never failed which is ok, but why? Why has one never failed? Because one is really good at what one does? Or, because one has never risked doing something out of the ordinary? Something that might end up wrong, as a failure!

A failure is to people like a good aging process in French oak barrels is to wine. Failure gives character, maturity and certainties to people helping enjoying better a good success. I am not saying that you should go for a failure, what I do say is that one should not be afraid of it or use it as an excuse to avoid risking in own projects. Failure gives also a sense of reality helping facing challenges with a different posture, with more weapons to fight adversities and unexpected events. In martial arts one learns how to fall in order to better do it when needed. A Sensei teaches her students how fall without harming yourself, and how to take advantage of it when facing an opponent. Not wanting to discuss here the educational systems but already discussing, one should be able to fail along your education, though you would need to have an educational system based on developing people able to think and act by themselves instead of copy-past machines only able to repeat what is on manuals.

Fail is part of the growing and maturing process, and should be faced as something normal that has its positive aspects beside the negative ones that everybody knows. Failing is part of the success process, as I mentioned in the beginning success and failure are two faces of the same coin.  Differently from gambling, in this cases one will have tails or heads depending on internal and external aspects. Though, I normally suspect of those who show of their zero failures. Successes without failures are very unlikely to happen but…they do and good for those who have them.

Nevertheless, failures are part of the success process!

What do you prefer? A Paycheck every single month or a monetary value!

In the first post I wrote  about “amateurs” that produce, share and collaborate because they want to be recognized as experts (help to master and brand). We are all “amateurs”, aren’t we? For this one I would like to go further and ask you: Are we better if we act as amateurs with a monetary value instead of professionals with paychecks?

Well, it depends! As an amateur you think “I am free”! We do not need to do it every single day, nevertheless we do it because we are “in love”. We do it in a passionate, efficient and creative way. We do it without fearing failures, judgments, being misunderstood or even being out of “your scope” (professionally speaking). Why? I am not a psychologist, though I believe that we act like that because we feel safer, in a more protected environment, an environment where we think we are in control therefore, we contribute in a riskier and deeper way. However, this will always depend on us. If we cannot feel free to go deeper, risk more, be more creative and innovate when doing something as an amateur, then probably it does not matter if we are a professional with a paycheck, or an amateur only with his or her passion.

Although, I believe that the right thing to realize is: first, we act differently when being amateurs and not professionals; and second, we are in general better. Relevant question: how can we act as amateurs when being professionals? Dizzy? Don’t be! It is quite simple! How can we full profit from our creativity, risk more and go off our comfort zone when being a professional? Well, probably when we empower ourselves and try not to work with the paycheck in mind. I do not have a solution but I believe that you will have your paycheck if you master what you do and do it in a professional but out-of-the-box way. I know, companies have also to change, yes it is true. However, people should be more entrepreneurial and find a way of be an amateur with a monetary value not a paycheck-oriented.

Not easy but we can try, can’t we?

Good luck! If you have some entrepreneurial adventures share them with us!