Brainstorming and Social Betterment

This post just serves to reinforce my claim that social activists could get better results by applying a few simple, but formalized, brainstorming tactics to their plans. Social marketing, advocacy, public education efforts, social programs, policies, and fundraising could always benefit from new ideas. We need new idea about how to do those things and we need new ideas to promote/sell.

Many, many formal techniques for generating ideas exist. Just read Michael Michalko’s books Thinkertoys and Cracking Creativity and you‘ll learn more techniques that you ever imagined. Learning two or three of the techniques could only help any activist or nonprofit manager. With that in mind, I‘d like to suggest two techniques that are relatively powerful and easy to use:

1. Fantasy questions – There is more than one way to use “pie-in-the-sky“ thinking to generate viable ideas. I only want to draw attention to two specific questions inspired by a book called Why Not?

– How would you solve the problem if there were no practical limits on the money that you could spend? Answer that question in detail and see if some form of that idea might be implemented in the real world.

– How could people be made to absorb the full cost of their behavior?

2. Random input – State your challenge. Turn to a random page in a dictionary and pick the first noun on the page. That word should conjure up some facts, features, and associations. List them and think about each one in turn. One or more item on the list should lead to a new insight into how to solve our problem.


~ by chetdavis on December 18, 2007.

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