Organizational Development Consultant and Leadership Coach

The power and importance of questions

August 1, 2018

The Harvard Business Review highlights the importance and power of questions in two recent articles.  I highly recommend them both.

Better Brainstorming suggests we focus on questions, not answers, for breakthrough insights. Better questions can lead to answers that challenge deeply held assumptions, and make it easier to push past biases and venture into unchartered territory.

The Surprising Power of Questions talks about the importance of questioning as a skill to be honed, and as a tool for unlocking value in companies.  It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, fuels innovation and performance improvement and builds Continue reading

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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #6 Breaking a Stalemate

May 12, 2014

“Sometimes when we need to be the most creative, my participants seem to be restricted by their assumptions. I need to find a way to help them challenge those assumptions so we can generate a new level of thinking and creativity. What do you suggest?”

6: Breaking a Stalemate

What is Breaking a Stalemate?

Breaking a Stalemate is a brainstorming technique designed to challenge the paradigms and assumptions of your participants that seem to get in the way of their creative energy.

Instead of brainstorming solutions to a stated question or problem like other brainstorming techniques, Breaking Continue reading

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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #5 STP

May 8, 2014
“Often our discussions ramble from problem to solution and back again. Sometimes we even look for solutions before agreeing on what we want as an end result. What can we do to focus on one thing at a time without over-structuring ourselves?”
5. STP
What Is STP?
STP (Situation, Target, Proposal) is a brainstorming technique designed to clarify a situation, define a target, and articulate a proposed solution. Situation refers to the current, undesirable state. Target refers to a future, desired state. The Proposal portion of the equation is the proposed action(s) to move from the current situation to the Continue reading
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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #4 Card Clusters

May 5, 2014

“I know that sharing ideas is essential to our group’s success. But ensuring that everyone’s ideas are heard can be a slow and difficult process. Some people don’t like to talk in front of a group, some people talk too much, and others continuously judge ideas prematurely. I need a technique that is fast and efficient in gathering maximum input in minimum time. What do you suggest?”

4. Card Clusters

What Are Card Clusters?

The Card Clusters technique gathers ideas and information quickly and efficiently, while eliminating common brainstorming problems.

For this technique individuals silently write ideas on cards (usually Continue reading

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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #3 Storyboarding

May 1, 2014

“Nonlinear brainstorming techniques seem to suit many of the groups I facilitate. Is there an alternative to Mind Mapping that provides a flexible and visual process for sequencing information?”

3. Storyboarding

What Is Storyboarding?

Storyboarding is a nonlinear brainstorming technique that allows you to later arrange the ideas your group generates into a desired order or linear format. Many brainstorming techniques are designed to seek specific solutions to a given question or problem. Storyboarding differs from these techniques because it provides a process to visually manipulate brainstormed information into the most desirable order or format.

Examples of specific items that Continue reading

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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #2 Mind Mapping

April 28, 2014

 “Sometimes we brainstorm information and ideas that need to be subsequently placed into a specific sequence, order, or outline. But our group likes to brainstorm in a nonsequential manner, much like the process outlined in the Old Fashioned Way. Is there an efficient way to brainstorm that will allow us to later sequence the information without extra work?”

#2 Mind Mapping

What Is Mind Mapping?

Mind Mapping is a brainstorming technique for quickly charting your group’s ideas in logical groupings, even when members give ideas in a nonsequential manner.

It is impossible to effectively outline ideas in a traditional, Continue reading

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Six Techniques to Brainstorm Ideas: #1 The Old Fashioned Way

April 24, 2014

Contemporary organizations expect every group within them to provide creative solutions. Groups need to find better ways of doing business as well as expose, analyze, and deal with problems before they even occur.

The best way to find the most effective idea is to first introduce as many ideas as possible. And that means brainstorming. Brainstorming works on the principle that the quantity of ideas increases their quality. The first ideas are typically the most obvious. When brainstormers are fearful of scrutiny and judgment during the brainstorming session, ideas stop flowing before the best ideas come forward. Deferring judgment on Continue reading

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