Something bizarre happened during an ideation recently.

We were running a training session on creativity and idea generation, focusing on generating ideas for Positioning. As part of the training, we ran some ideation exercises and had people vote on the winning idea. For the case, we used a product no one was familiar with, that had been launched abroad but not yet in the US.

Here’s the bizarre part – the winning idea the group came up with was the EXACT positioning tagline of the not-yet-launched product. Word for word. And the group achieved that in a very short time. No-one knew the product, no-one worked in the industry, no-one was a positioning expert.

Bizarre, but thought provoking too. How did this group do so well? A couple of thoughts …

1) They were able to strip away mental barriers – we’d primed the group on how to do this during the training. Our brains naturally filter incoming, and sensor outgoing, information. A bit like a spam filter. Turning off this spam filter helps in idea generation

2) They were a very diverse group of people who didn’t work in the industry.  Each made different connections in the brain in response to stimuli and came up with a wide diversity of ideas

3) It was fast paced.  Exercises were snappy, there was no time to overthink and ideas flowed spontaneously

4) It was driven by consumer insight.  Focusing on the key consumer insight/benefit areas helped the group develop relevant ideas rather than brainstorming blindly

Effective ideations are far more than just getting a group of people in a room to brainstorm. When done well, they can unleash the mind and uncover truly compelling ideas that resonate deeply with people.

Have you been to any ideations that were particularly successful? Share your thoughts below on why you think they worked so well!