Mine your mind IV: Brain Storming
Brainstorming is like dreaming but while you are awake.
John Cleese defined creativity as open minded persistence. In his speech on the topic of writing he tells the audience that a co-writer for Monty Python is more talented than he is (though Cleese is the one with the massive reputation for hilarious writing)… But also notes that he doesn’t spend as long on a given comedic situation or joke as Cleese does. This is the secret sauce to Cleese’s “talent”… time.
Here is the story if you care to watch it:
Click ahead and watch > 18:04 - 19:20.
The longer you can maintain an open mind without knocking things down due to impracticality (or settling for a quick fix)… the greater access to novel and ingenious solutions you have.
There are two modes of looking at the future.
Open: All possibilities are entertained.
Closed: Brainstorming is over and a plan with dates and times is communicated to everyone involved.
Example: I need to advertise non-stop flights for Alaska Airlines between Boston and Portland. If I spent 1 hour thinking of an action plan I may choose a TV commercial, or magazine ads in popular travel magazines. I may even think to buy banners in the airport or rent billboard space. Would it work? Sure, people would find out about it.
What if I spent 12 hours with a group of people known for their ability to keep problems “open” until the best solution was found?
I got a phone call after this sort of brainstorming took place.
WongDoody the Seattle based PR company had a budget from Alaska Airlines to tell Portland about non stop flights to Boston. They wanted a living statue who looked like Paul Revere to stand in the famous “Red Square” in Portland for a day. I told them my terms we met and signed our contract. I made the costume.
Click >> for more about the costume.
Their promoters would stand by to answer questions. Reporters showed up, the mysterious statue (me) made the paper and was taunted on several websites (which ended up further spreading the word). WongDoody was a success! Alaska air liked the results so much that they later flew me back to Portland for the inaugural flight.
WongDoody was called again when Alaska opened non stop flights to Orlando. This time hundreds of pink plastic flamingos flocked to Portland. That worked too.
Lesson #1: Persistance can be more powerful than raw talent.
Lesson #2: The secret to profound brainstorming is intentional extreme openmindedness.
This is the raw theory of brainstorming, now what are the logistics?
Check out this post for the answer:
- Capturing every idea as you brainstorm: Mind-mapping.
Or continue in the Mine Your Mind Series:
- Mind-blowing ideas born from "Analogy Breakdown".