Why do we never have any fresh ideas? [Innovation]

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.
— John Maynard Keynes

Does this sound familiar?

This afternoon was a planning session with the management team on how to halve the number of overdue deliveries in the next 12 months. Four hours of torture. Mike in Manufacturing insisted the solution was to stop the sales people promising short deliveries. Sam from Sales shouted at Mike, "My team is just quoting delivery times offered by competitors in the marketplace. It's not our fault manufacturing are disorganised". Helen in HR though upskilling and flexible working was the solution. While Adam in Accounting said, we could do whatever we needed as long as it did not cost anything because the costs of rework were double the budget. Quentin from Quality thought that might be a problem, and we needed to double the budget. Round and round in circles. We always debate the same ideas.

Our team never have any fresh ideas.

No wonder many managers say their meetings don't work. So, what can you do?

In this example, the problem is reasonably clear, but even with a clear problem, the team are getting the same old solutions from each department. Five identical ideas are always proposed. Not a single fresh idea.

It's common for teams to propose the same few ideas repeatedly. So, what if they had a process that helped them generate far more ideas? How many more? Well between 30 and 120 ideas in just 90 minutes. That would be fantastic, especially is the process was fun and fast and they had lots of ideas to choose from.

No, I hear you say, "That would make my problem worse". Why?

"Because on the rare occasions we have as many as 15 ideas we can spend four hours and never choose a solution. So, 30 ideas or as many as 120 would be terrible".

Ok, so what if we could guarantee that in just a further 90 minutes you could pick the three best actions to solve the problem, whether its three from 30 or three from 120? And these three would have the best chance of producing the best results to solve your problem.

A great company is much more likely to die of indigestion from too much opportunity than starve from too little. The challenge is choosing opportunities not creating opportunities.
— Jim Collins (Good to Great)

Having worked with many teams like yours, we know that finding fresh ideas to tricky problems and agreeing these are the best ideas is invaluable. And we understand that you don't have the time to spend days doing this because you need to get on with delivering better results and faster.

Find out how you can rapid results from teams by downloading our ebook: Rapid Results from Teams: Create Value.