The Death of Brainstorming

The Death of Brainstorming

I’m not sure whether to thank or blame The Wall Street Journal. It recently ran this article entitled: Think Inside the Box. I spent half my day answering emails and phone calls to explain how the article was spot on. Successful product development relies on three important ingredients: a thorough understanding of customer needs, fresh ideas, and a strong process for converting the first two items into product...

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Prime the Pump for Better Ideas

Prime the Pump for Better Ideas

When I was a kid, my grandparent’s farm still had a working, hand-operated water pump. It was only used when we came to visit. It took some effort to get the water flowing. Oftentimes my grandfather would have to pour water down into the pipe to displace some air. That’s priming the pump. Brainstorming works the same way because an important first step is priming. Before the best ideas...

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So Many Ideas. So Few Concepts.

So Many Ideas. So Few Concepts.

We hear it repeatedly: “As an organization, we are great at generating ideas but we struggle to convert these ideas into product concepts.” Even research bears this out. According to a MIT study (as reported in MIT Sloan Management Review), “most companies are sufficiently good at generating ideas, the bottleneck in the innovation process actually occurs further down the pipeline.”  Later in the same summary,...

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What’s YOUR Type?

What’s YOUR Type?

Have you ever taken a skills assessment test like Myers-Briggs®? If so, what’s your type? Half the fun (or not) of these tests is sharing your results with co-workers and them nodding in agreement and saying things like “that is so you” or “this explains a lot.” On Myers-Briggs®, for example, I tend to be an INTJ-Introvert / Intuitive / Thinking / Judging. The middle two...

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How Well Do You REALLY Know Your Participants?

How Well Do You REALLY Know Your Participants?

Last month I argued that qualitative research can be too clinical, and we often overlook that we are trying to engage real people. Much of the literature around ideation and brainstorming focuses on the process. While that is important, not enough attention is paid to involving the right people in the process. I’ll use myself as the case study for this important point. I have an occasional good idea. But,...

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