Lynne Van Dyke, KS&R Principal Emeritus, had previously shared her guidance on the importance of problem solving and idea generation and I thought that her words were too important to retire with her. Reposting her blog: "Looking for Breakthrough Ideas."
Anyone who lives with a cat knows the extraordinary lengths it will go to achieve its desired goal. Mr. X (a stray who wandered onto our front porch last year; my husband refused to allow me to name him to lessen the odds that the cat would join our household) excels at creative problem solving. He has been known to try multiple strategies in order to get at his catnip stash in the kitchen drawer. While many of Mr. X's more elaborate and innovative attempts are thwarted by his lack of opposable thumbs, somehow he always seems to come up with an approach that works.
No matter what business you are in, in order to succeed and compete in the global marketplace today, nothing is more important than problem solving and idea generation. They are core to the design of new products, as well as effective marketing strategies and advertising copy.
It's all very well to acknowledge that companies have a critical need for new ideas -- and to convert those ideas into solutions / innovation. But where will these ideas come from?
Some of the most effective idea generation techniques used in qualitative research have evolved from brainstorming, popularized in the 1950's by Alex Osborn in his book, Applied Imagination. Like most things, these techniques have their strengths and weaknesses. The key is knowing how to employ them effectively. Here are some guidelines:
It's exciting when creativity happens! Don't be afraid to try idea generation through qualitative research.