Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't judge -- just give me a headline

Today's section of Innovator -- a first-year class for which I am a TA this quarter -- was a memorable repeat of a class we had last year during which Mark Sebell, CEO of Creative Realities, led a session on brainstorming and building upon absurd ideas without judgment. Our other special guest this year was Laura Walker, President and CEO of WNYC, and thus the topic had to do with some new ideas for radio.

There are right and wrong ways to brainstorm, which a lot of people don't realize. Often a brainstorming session is misinterpreted to mean a disorganized free-form time during which people throw out ideas. But there's a process to a good brainstorm, and it involves a section where everyone's statements start with "I wish ..." and another during which everyone's statements begin with "We could." Sometimes great practical ideas stem from what began as impractical, ridiculous ideas. And the more absurd the idea, the better. And Sebell also encourages people to speak just in headlines -- get right to the point. To often, we stammer around with unnecessary setup and explanation.

The students came up with great ideas and seemed (generally) to be pretty engaged! Innovator is an interesting class; it's very important, and a lot of fun, and yet still some people resist. I can't understand it. Who doesn't like to be creative and talk about neat stuff?

Perhaps more importantly, if you visit the website, you will see a video featuring a gorgeous guy who also visited our class today. Distracting!

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