The Best Ideas Ever

Businesses don’t grow on spreadsheets.
Businesses grow on a healthy diet of great ideas.

If you need to infuse your business (or your life) with a healthy dose of original thought and fresh ideas you could hire other people to be creative for you. Alternatively you could try to unlock hidden creative potential of the people working in your company (yourself included).

The latter is usually a lot less expensive route and it’s always a lot more fun. There’s tons of books on creative thinking and fostering a creative culture. I won’t bore you with those. Instead I would like to share three very simple and easy to follow tips.

1. Hold your meetings standing up.

The first tip I got from IMD’s George Kohlrieser. He explained me that if you hold your meetings standing up you increase the number of neurons firing by 15 to 20%. That’s a big increase in brain activity. You will be more associative and generate ideas more freely. As an added bonus your meetings will be 40% shorter. So you will save time too!

2. Get a plant.

This one comes from Richard Wiseman (who wrote the excellent 59 Seconds). According to Richard and eight months of research putting a potted plant in your room will increase the number of ideas being generated by 15%. You may not believe this, but at the very least your office will look a little better if you do.

3. Think out loud and draw your thoughts.

This one’s my own. I’ve been in countless brainstorms and meetings in which people kept their thoughts to themselves or scribbled them on notepads. That’s just plain stupid. By not sharing ideas – as half baked as some of them may seem to you – you deny others the chance of using them as mental stepping stones to bigger and better ideas.

Whenever you write something down, say the words out loud.
Whenever you are trying to explain something to a colleague, draw your thoughts on a BIG piece of paper.

Don’t limit yourself to boring block diagrams and arrows; use little sketches of men, objects and icons representing your ideas. By thinking out load and drawing your thoughts on paper you will activate the right side of the brain (which is good at synthesis) as well as the left side of the brain (which excels as analysis).

You’ve now got three simple ideas that can more than double your creative output. Not only will you generate more ideas – you will produce significantly better ones as well.

2 Replies to “The Best Ideas Ever”

  1. Hi Bas.
    Very interesting, to do meetings standing. Never heard of that, but why not! Just read the book ‘leadership and self-deception, getting out of the box’ which you recommended.
    I sure being open to others also helps a lot to get a lot of new ideas from them!

    nice blog 🙂

  2. Hi Agnes,

    Nice of you to stop by. I’m currently trying very hard to convince the people in my office that we should have a few of those high tables (no chairs)….


    p.s. That’s a pretty good book isn’t it?

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