sketchboard blog

Brainstorming or braincalming?

By Leigh Ewin Sep 7, 2017

We have all been in that situation. Your boss calls the “innovation/creative/ideas” meeting. You and your colleagues are handed a stack of post-it notes.

“Oooh goodie, I got green!” - one colleague shouts.

Brainstorming or braincalming - dreaming

Your boss then explains that you need to create a new program or project and swiftly proceeds to give a short dialogue as to what sorts of ideas are within the realm of possibility.

“You got it guys?” “Now, I’m going to give you five minutes to come up with ideas and then we will go through those together”. “Ready, set, GO!!!”.

The whole team gives the impression of deep thinking, and it appears painfully visible on everyone’s faces at least. But alas, no ideas seem to be finding their way onto the post-it notes… until one brave soul decides that one idea is “acceptable” and not “too embarrassing” to share on the board.

That first initial thought or idea that found its way to the board seems to trigger the creative flow in the rest of the group. Ninety seconds had passed in the meantime. For the remaining few minutes, your team slowly finds small variations of the initial bench mark post-it note until the time expires and in steps your boss.

Many staff feels left out if one particular individual or individuals generate more quantity of ideas.

This is a commonly used method of which is intended to create spontaneous yet innovative and cutting edge ideas and concepts, which in many cases are supposed to be integrated into the future development of your business strategy which in turn, contributes to the success (or downfall) of the company or organization.

It seems that brainstorming with post-it notes do not take into consideration certain aspects that affect the process, for example:

  • Different speed of individual brain/signal processing
  • Individual need to source “socially acceptable” ideas whilst in company of peers
  • Time restriction has varied effect on individual
  • Flexible or creative differences in individuals
  • “Flow state” or calm is preferred by many to source and retrieve information or memories
  • And many many other factors

Nine times out of ten, if you ask anyone “where are you when you get your best ideas?” people will answer:

  • Forest
  • In the shower
  • Laying down in bed
  • On a bus
  • Etc

So why do we insist on brainstorming as the key driver in innovation practices in our places of business?

Good leaders are often the best at identifying the strengths and weaknesses within individuals and then guiding or simply allowing those individuals to take ownership or partial responsibility in certain tasks that suit the individual skillset.

Great leaders can not only motivate and give responsibility to individuals according to a specific skillset, they are able to do so throughout the whole team and still have the team working towards a common goal and with a minor “treading on toes” or “butting of heads”.

The true question, is how to harness this high level form of leadership and bring that forward into a new digital format to form truly diverse collaboration within a team?

Sketchboard is one of the very tools that allow for this type of teamwork. It works together with Slack, Google Drive and other such essential team working tools and you don’t have to be an artist or graphic designer to use it. Quite the opposite really. The basic, yet intuitive user interface allows for your team to learn how to use Sketchboard in the best way that suits that individual - yet in a fully collaborative and sharing manner.

It is an empowering tool that will allow each user to create and share vital and pivotal input with emphasis on allowing each employee the time and space to work at their own pace with no one looking over their shoulder and no reliance on location as everything can be done at different times and places but yet synchronized.

Whether brainstorming or braincalming, remember everyone has their own method in the madness. Don’t forget to allow for individuals to have time, space and freedom to find their creative niche. As a leader or manager, you will see the effects if you allow for it!

Don’t forget to give Sketchboard a go and allow your employees the power of braincalming or brainstorming with Sketchboard.