This recap is a guest post by Triangle AMA member, Burch Gibson.
Gert Garman, Global Creative Development Director for Disney, shared Disney’s approach to getting more creative ideas, and offered tools and techniques that any business could apply to be more innovative at the September 2011 luncheon of the Triangle AMA chapter.
Anyone can be creative. Fixing a problematic spreadsheet can be an act of creativity. It is often about solving problems. When Disneyland opened, there was a spot that instead of being a small flower garden was only growing weeds. As the arrival of the first guests was imminent, Walt had staff put a sign in front with the Latin name of the weeds to make it appear they were intentionally growing something.
The key is to develop a creative culture by fostering collaboration. If everyone is competing for recognition, it stops information sharing and thus inhibits collaboration. They established brainstorming guidelines that encouraged creativity:
- It’s All Good – no bad ideas
- 10/10 – if one idea is a ‘can’t’ or ‘no-go’, come up with 10 more ideas
- Vegas – what happens in the room, stays in the room (the room is a safe place)
- Doctor & Bullet – capture all ideas in legible (not Dr scribble) bullet form with
- noun+verb+3 words
- Share & Hook – raise hand (hook) to add on to other’s sharing they finish
- Date an idea, but don’t marry it! (Things always change)
She recommends no more than 12 people per facilitator and for whatever question or problem you are addressing to always get consumer insights (research).
To get a group started in the creative process start with an energizer such as improv or other teambuilding exercise. She had just break into groups of 3. Each ‘c’ person was the coach for parachuting elephants while the other two people asked questions. The exercise lasted 30 seconds before someone else was assigned a profession. Always debrief! What did it take to do the above exercise? Sample responses included imagination, openness, humor and spontaneity. Capture the answers and add to the guidelines in order to signal session behaviors.
Pick the top three ideas or questions that developed out of the session then handout sharpies and sticky notes to add details. Group stickies into common areas. Do help the creative process, bring out a creative catalyst such as a magazine article or a squirt gun. List the attributes, put away the catalyst then twist the attributes to apply to the problem or question you are trying to address.
She added these personal creativity tips:
- Have a dedicated idea book to keep all your ideas
- Thinking that makes sense
- Take risks
- Reward yourself
- Haha to A-ha
- Ask questions and Why? three times in order to keep diving deeper
- Bend the rules