As the country begins to reopen, organizations are thinking about how to operate in this shifting normal.

Maybe in your enterprise, you’ve been part of brainstorming sessions to look at a host of issues: How will we work now?  What do our customers and clients need?  How can we strengthen our communications internally and externally?  How do we have these conversations while still being virtual?

A fascinating article from the researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management explores group brainstorming and at what point in a meeting do creative ideas surface.

According to the researchers, most people believe that the best ideas surface early in a meeting, which apparently is not the case.

This belief actually stymies the creative process because by thinking “we’ve got it” when a meeting ends, cuts off new ideas.

The operative word here is process.  Creativity isn’t something you can turn on and off.  Anyone who is a writer knows that well.

Sometimes you stare at that blank screen, and nothing happens.  You walk away and then when you come back to it, the ideas are flowing because your brain has had time to process.

The same can be true for groups thinking through challenges or their vision.  The brainstorming session is often the place where ideas begin to flow.  But it doesn’t end there.

People need to chew on things.

That’s why it’s important to build in pre-work that allows participants to start the process before they get together.

And equally important is follow up and creating mechanisms for people to share ideas, ask more questions building on what happened in the meeting.

When organizations embark on planning processes, it is important to remember that you are never really done.  The world is changing rapidly.

The organizations that will thrive are those that build a culture of creative thinking and that involves building the opportunities to let ideas flow and for teams to process them.

Here is a great article for you to read: Keep Brainstorming – Your Best Ideas Are Still to Come