Idea generation is the key to innovating and creating.  Everything starts and ends with the strength or weakness of an idea.  If an idea is new, fresh, and exciting that particular group will have planted seeds for a culture of innovation.  The more seeds that are planted, the more chance of coming up with the next great invention, service, practice or procedure for one’s company.

So how do groups generate new ideas?  Free Flow is a creative technique aimed at generating original ideas for your group.  Free Flow is not concerned with “what is”, which is determined by analysis, judgment and argument.  Rather, it is focusing on “what can be” which involves thinking creatively.

Idea Generator #1- Free Flow: In a meeting set aside 5 minutes a day for your team to say whatever ideas come into your team’s head without censoring or judging one’s ideas.  Encourage the ideas to be bold, audacious, and limitless and put them up on the whiteboard.  The key is to give your team a framework to free flow as they share their ideas.  For example, if you are looking for a new way to service your clients use that as a theme and allow your team the freedom to discuss this freely and openly. 

Compare and contrast a free flow meeting with a typical meeting scheduled during the normal course of your work week.  Write down ideas generated in a typical meeting and then compare them to the ideas generated in a “free flow” meeting.  More importantly, see what is written on the white board and what has more creative value for your group.

Groups get stuck in the normal day to day operations of one’s company and therefore they do not escape the bubble that is formed around that group.  Specifically, a bubble that is created in one’s culture, thought process, practices, and procedures all of which have value but do not add creative value to one’s group.