If you are planning a creative thinking session around a particular topic then one way to help displace your thinking and inspire ideas is to bring in an expert from an entirely unrelated business.
A company had an issue with its sales force. Morale was low and team spirit was poor. Sales people complained about poor leads and poor commissions but the company directors were sure the real problems lay with the motivation and drive of the sales team. So they planned a creative thinking session and put together a team to tackle this problem. They started the meeting with a talk from an outside expert – a Major who had served many years in the Army and knew how the Armed Services recruited, trained and motivated its staff. How did they instil courage, team spirit, discipline and drive? It certainly was not through bonuses and commissions. The Major presented and the team members asked him questions. Later in the meeting they were able to adapt many of the Major’s ideas into workable improvements of their own. They improved leadership, training and recognition (even giving a form of medal for most sales calls in a month) and transformed the performance of the team.
Say you are concerned about human resource issues then consider getting a completely different point of view by bringing in an external speaker such as:
The head teacher of a school
A hospital manager
The director of a charity
An army officer
The manager of a large hotel
Say you want to improve creativity, design or innovation you might start your meeting with a talk from:
A movie director
An interior designer
A web site designer
An ad agency creative director
Leaders in other walks of life have faced similar problems to yours but in very different circumstances. See if you can find people to share their experiences with you. Their different views on life can be enlightening and will help displace you from your comfort zone and kick start your creativity.
Paul Sloane facilitates workshops on leadership and innovation. He is the author of The Innovative Leader.