Book Recommendation: Simply Brilliant—Powerful Techniques to Unlock your Creativity and Spark New Ideas

Reading time ( words)

Simply Brilliant: Powerful Techniques to Unlock your Creativity and Spark New Ideas

Author: Bernhard Schroeder

Amacom, 2017

Price: $24.95 

This is more than a brainstorming book, much more. In his new book, Schroeder teaches the reader not only how to brainstorm in a group, but also how to come up with ideas as an individual. 

Probably the most valuable part of this book is the advice for group sessions, such as the “Seven Steps to Effective Brainstorming.” From the book: 

  1. Agree on the problem
  2. Gather the right team and the available data
  3. If possible, break down the problem
  4. Go for as many ideas as possible
  5. Don’t criticize as ideas are evaluated
  6. Combine several ideas to create an amazing new idea
  7. Fairly judge the created ideas for the best ones that solve the problem 

All good stuff. And for more fun, here are some of the things you should do if you want to kill a brainstorming session:

  1. Have senior management speak first, in order of importance (been there, done that, what a buzzkill).
  2. Ask for ideas from everyone by going around the table. (People come up with ideas when they come up with ideas, on their own, not when they are supposed to come up with them on cue.)
  3. Bring only "look-alike" team member experts. (A room full of people who look and think alike is not going to produce new or different ideas.)
  4. Only hold brainstorm sessions off-site. (Of course, this is dumb. Work in your own environment. This is just another version of coming up with new ideas on cue. And of course, when you are installing a new system like Lean manufacturing, for example, you should be on-site and in the right departments to have an effective brainstorming session.)
  5. Encourage professional behavior—no silly stuff. (Does playing dumb games kill the pure process of brainstorming and idea generation? No, have some fun—but don’t get so silly so that the sessions get away from you.)
  6. Have everyone take copious notes. (You’re not thinking freely if you are taking notes all the time.) 

You can tell that I like this book. I read it twice and then passed it on to one of my associates who is in the middle of implementing Lean manufacturing into one of his client’s facilities right now. He has already adapted many of the ideas and techniques from the book into his project. 

This is a good book filled with good ideas.


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