If there is an important issue that needs some creative ideas then set a specific challenge for it and run an ideas event. A regular brainstorm or ideation meeting is fine but why not add some excitement with a different approach?
Here are the sorts of events you could run:
• A lunchtime brainstorm with pizza and drinks.
• A team contest where teams post ideas on an intranet site and everyone can vote for their favourite.
• A reality TV game show where people vote out the worst ideas and the number of contestants is whittled down to a winner.
• A party where people have to contribute ideas to get treats such as snacks and drinks.
• An ideas event where you bring in some external people to get diversity of thinking. They could be suppliers, customers, students or relatives of employees.
• An offsite event at a zoo, art gallery, museum, stately home or other interesting venue (but not a hotel – they are too dull)
Announce the challenge in specific terms and the criteria that will be used to select the best idea and then let the proceedings begin. Place a deadline on when ideas have to be submitted. That will help concentrate the mind. Also, show ideas that have already been submitted so as to avoid duplication. This also allows contributors to build on other people’s ideas.
The event needs proper facilitation with good brainstorming disciplines; no criticism, divergent thinking, going for quantity etc. Then the ideas need to be evaluated and the best ones actioned.
By running an event you focus attention and energy on the issue. People know that it is important and therefore they will make an effort. The event registers in their subconscious minds and the result should be a wealth of ideas. In addition the event will often be motivational, team-building and fun.