During our most recent class, Jeff McMullen, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, took our class on a deep dive to help us answer these questions.
One of the best models for idea generation and innovation is currently being used by a Silicon Valley firm called IDEO, a global design consultancy. This company has worked on improving the design of various products, from toothbrushes to shopping carts.
Some of the key takeaways that I learned from their model are:
- IDEO employs a diverse staff, from various nationalities and backgrounds. These differing viewpoints allow their teams to view problems from all angles, reducing group-think.
- Design teams get a feel for the product they are trying to re-design. They touch it, feel it, and do some preliminary research. Once they have a good idea of the main functions, users, likes and dis-likes, they split into teams and perform more focused research.
- Teams bring their research together and perform a "Deep Dive". There is no holding back in an IDEO brainstorming session. If someone starts judging an idea, the manager rings a bell and puts a stop to it immediately. Putting others down for their ideas reduces everyone's willingness to share, which stifles creativity.
- After plenty of free-flowing brainstorming, management has to put some structure around the ideas and propel the group forward. You'll never get anywhere if you don't start moving forward. Winning ideas come from the group, they are not imposed by those with bigger titles.
OK, so what's your point? How does this relate to GLOBASE? In many ways, we are performing the function of IDEO for our Peruvian clients. We are by no means experts on the Peruvian jewelry market or any of the other markets our clients serve. Our GLOBASE teams parachute in, survey the landscape and provide valuable advice that will help these companies achieve their goals...all within 7 weeks of class and 2 weeks in country. Blending the talents of our diverse set of students, we can combine our experience and expertise to provide innovative and game-changing ideas that will help our clients' businesses become more sustainable.