Innovation Tournaments  (Wharton NanoTools)

Providing a structured approach to ideation amongst a large number of contributors results in the most effective return on ideas.

Actionable Steps –

  1. Select – determine an area of strategic importance; Instruct participants to spend 20 minutes on individual ideation, coming up with five ideas related to the chosen area. 
  2. Convene groups of four or five participants to discuss the opportunities then generate additional opportunities through group discussion. Each group should pick, from the entire set identified, its best opportunities to share with the full workshop group. 
  3. Pitch ideas to the full group. All pitches should adhere to the 2-1-0 rule: a maximum of two minutes for a presentation, exactly one opportunity per sheet of paper or slide, and no discussion of the opportunities during or after the presentations. 
  4. Vote on the opportunities and review the results. Arrange opportunities in the order of support they garnered. Discussion will ensue, which should include steps needed to advance the opportunities, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement in the process.

My Thoughts – I’ve used this and similar steps for brainstorming. And its effective, the downside however is that the process is time consuming. It also tends to allow bias towards more vocal and creative team members, whilst under representing more practical and execution focused team members.

I observe that everyone likes to be part of the brainstorm, but the less executional, the more they want to participate and the more vocal they are in discussions.

I also find that its easy for participants to think that the brainstorming is ‘real work’ when really this is a small aspect of the planning. And doesn’t really have any impact on execution

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