Tips for priming the conceptual-innovation pump

Ideas, ideas, ideas. That’s the almost entirely conceptual approach of creativity-booster Michael Michalko in Fortune’s Innovation Forum on BusinessInnovationInsider.com. Experimental innovation gets short shrift.

For example, from the Q&A:

BRAINSTORMING BOARD. Put up a bulletin board in a central area and encourage people to use it to brainstorm ideas. Write a theme or problem on a colored card and place it in the center of the board. Provide pieces of white paper on which people can write their ideas to post on the board. Suppose you have difficulty closing a particular sale. You could describe the sale situation on a colored card, post it on the brainstorming board and ask people to post their ideas and suggestions.

IDEA LOTTERY. Have a monthly “idea lottery,” using a roll of numbered tickets. Each time a person comes up with a creative idea, he or she receives a ticket. At the end of each month, share the ideas with the staff and then draw a number from a bowl. If the number on anyone’s ticket corresponds to the number drawn, he or she gets a prize. If no one wins, double the prize for the next month.

CREATIVE CORNER. Provide a special area for people to engage in creative thinking. Stock the area with books, videos on creativity, as well as learning games and such toys as beanbags and modeling clay. You might even decorate the area with pictures of employees as infants to suggest the idea that we’re all born spontaneous and creative.

On so on.

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