This guest blog was written by Noel Childs, an innovator, thought leader and catalyst for change by design. Noel is the founder and president of 9ine. Click here to visit his company’s website. He also is a friend of Norix Furniture.
One of the workshops we facilitate for our clients is an ideation session. It’s a collaborative brainstorm that brings together employees, consumers and outside experts to create ideas that solve real world problems. Ideation sessions are not your average company meeting. They’re active, creative workshops, in a comfortable environment that go beyond people sitting around a table. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve even take part in one. If you haven’t, here are five reasons why your company should invest the time, energy and money to start ideating.
1. New ideas are the lifeblood of companies.
Inertia, or doing the same thing over and over, is why many companies fail. They attain a measure of success and don’t change. They get comfortable. And eventually their growth stagnates. Stagnation leads to death. We find that companies that invest in the time for coming up with new ideas extend their lifecycle and reinvigorate their culture. Plus there’s a whole bunch of halo affects. More on that below.
2. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
And the more it gets ingrained into your company’s culture, the better your company will be at tackling its toughest problems. We find that anyone at any level, in virtually any industry, can benefit from this. And since ideations are low-risk (they’re just ideas after all) and potentially high-reward (the next multi-million dollar idea may come from them) there’s very little downside.
3. It’s fun.
At some point in our collective education, aspects of play were drummed out of us. In the business-world, most meetings are mind-numbing, most offices seriously drab. Playing is viewed as childish at least and grounds for dismissal at worst. And this is all in environments where we spend a good percentage of our lives. Meanwhile, aspects of play have been proven to reduce stress, ignite creativity and promote productivity. A good ideation has a fair amount of play in it. And playing is fun.
4. GenY expects it.
This generation is in the middle of re-writing company culture and in our experience is strikingly entrepreneurial. They breathe collaboration and seek out co-creation. They’re the future. When you invite your millennial employees to your ideation, they’ll politely smile while they’re thinking to themselves, why did it take you so long? And if you don’t, they’ll seek out your competitor for employment.
5. Ideas are cheap.
The pro tip on hiring a company to help you ideate is once you build this muscle, ideating is easy. The sooner your company can add this to their knowledge base, the sooner they can concentrate on the difficult parts – are the ideas good, how do they fit into our strategic plan and how do we bring them to market. Ultimately, this is where your company should spend their money on quality outside expertise.