As a lead in to ASTD's chapter leaders' conference, I spent October 30 in Gerald Haman's Accelerated Innovation Workshop. The highlight of the day was an introduction to Gerald's KnowBrainer: Accelerated Innovation and Creativity Tool (Accelerated Innovation and Creativity Tool 3.0, 3). Read on to learn more and decide if it's right for you.
Gerald postulates a four step model of innovation:
The KnowBrainer® set of flash cards is divided into four sections corresponding to the four step innovation model. Each section contains 38 cards: ten stimulating questions, ten nouns to spur your thinking, ten verbs, five quotes and three images.
For example, the Investigate section includes cards like these:
- Question card: "Who are the customers or audience?"
- A picture of a stone church steeple with cliffs in the background.
- Noun: "Resources."
- Verb: "Define, Redefine."
- Quote: "If you want to think outside the box, don't put your brain in a box." (Gerald "Solutionman" Haman).
You can use the cards to stimulate creativity in infinite ways. You might go through all 176 cards in linear fashion, using each card to prod your thinking or remind you of a question you might have missed. Or you can be less linear, as we learned at the workshop.
Try this, once you receive your set of cards:
- Gather two friends or coworkers (or better yet, two people who are both friend and coworker to you).
- State your problem or challenge to them.
- Have one of your partners "flash" random cards at you. Have them randomly pick a card from anywhere in the deck, show it to you, and read it out loud to you. Have them also say what card number it is, to help the third person.
- Say whatever comes into your mind in response to the card. If nothing comes to mind, just say "pass."
- Ask the third person to record the card number and your response to each card.
- Set a time limit for this exercise, move as fast as you can, and respond to as many cards as you can.
- Take your recorder's notes and review them for clues to your problem or challenge.
Up to Thursday, my favorite creativity tool was Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack. KnowBrainer® has replaced it in my toolbox. It should in yours, too.