When was the last time you witnessed a stellar idea take shape within a formal brainstorming session? I’m not talking about drafting an operational plan, I mean truly creative ideation. I’ve seen ideas come from these sessions, but nothing stellar. Nothing truly memorable or out of the box.

On the other hand I’ve drafted entire strategies in a few quick minutes with colleagues sitting in a restaurant over coffee or a glass of wine. You’ve been there, too. You’re relaxed and talking about all manner of things unrelated to work when suddenly a solution hits you. Don’t you grab the nearest scrap of paper and jot thoughts down as quickly as you can? And doesn’t that turn out to be the skeleton of a workable plan?

Creativity cannot be commanded to present itself. Especially not in a boardroom where logical, rational thinking is the order of the day.

Try this. Give your colleagues or directs a problem to mull over. Ask them to think about it when they’re in a daydreamy state. You will get whacky, zany solutions — and every now and then a true gem — minus the pained faces sitting around a boardroom table trying their best to squeeze out something creative on demand.

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