Betsy and I were called into a meeting recently with a client who was thinking about having an organization-wide event a few months in the future but wasn’t sure if it was the right timing or what exactly the content would be. Their instinct was telling them it was a good idea to bring people together, but there were so many questions it was hard to know if it was really the right thing to do. Was there enough time to do a good job organizing a day for 140+ from all walks of the organization? What content was relevant enough to engage everyone in a day-long off-site? Was this the right time to spend money on an event like this?
That’s where the brainstorming came in. After talking generally for a few minutes, Betsy jumped up with a marker and we started letting ideas fly. “What could this event look like?” In no time at all, we had a list of 50 ideas for what the day could be and we were all getting excited in spite of whatever doubts we had going in. By the end of the meeting one person said, “I really hope this happens because I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get to do these things.”
It’s amazing how we surprise ourselves when we allow ideas to happen. So many times we get stuck in the “shoulds” and feel bogged down and enervated.
In his book, The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley writes “The buzz of a good brainstormer can infect a team with optimism and a sense of opportunity that can carry it through the darkest and most pressure-tinged stages of a project.” It can also open up ideas we didn’t know we had because we weren’t giving ourselves persmission to have them.
Here’s to new ideas, optimism and energy. Three good things to cultivate in this early spring!