We all know the story of Isaac Newton under the tree when an apple falls on his head and suddenly the idea of the universal law of gravity comes to him.
If the apple fell on my head or yours would it occur to us that “everybody in the universe is attracted to every other body with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them”?
Of course not, even if a watermelon fell on our head because we don’t have the clearest idea of what is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between two bodies. That is because a prerequisite for the birth of such a unique idea is that the head on which the apple falls has enough information, and the one on whose shoulders the head stands has enough experience in the field.
A creative flash is deeply conditioned by these two things, which is why a lot of brainstorming sessions based on collective idea throwing are useless.
Therefore, instead of gathering all the “young, modern, creative” people of the company and making them think freestyle in order to come up with some brilliant idea, it will be better to spend most of the time on focused thinking and analysis.
- analysis of the problem we want to solve,
- analysis of the audience to which we need to solve this problem,
- research of all existing solutions to the same or similar problem
- thinking about how to adapt the found solutions to our market/audience and
- thinking for common sense solutions to the problem without burdening ourselves as is usually done in the industry
This is not to say that we should discourage creative or lateral thinking, but without a good analysis of the problem, the audience, and the existing solutions, the chances of it having an effect are much lower. Therefore, it is better to leave it for the later stages, when all members of the team are already completely clear about the goals to be achieved with the requested fresh and unconventional ideas.
In this way, over time, we will gain enough experience to be able to recognize patterns in problem-solving processes and be aware of a bunch of similar examples, solutions, and case studies that can be used in a given situation.
Finally, we’ll do all of this quickly enough to make it look like we’ve given an instant idea that is the fruit of our creative flash. Like in Mad Man type of shows. Or as in the favorite answer to the question “How long did it take you to come to this solution?”. Two hours… and several years of solving similar problems.