Never forget the wild geese


One of the common problems with brainstorming session is "business blindness". Business blindness often occurs in teams with people that have worked for many years together. They have problems looking at a situation, problem or opportunity from a different angle, because they are so used to look at it in a certain way. Inviting external participants, "wild geese", for a brainstorm is therefore important. Wild geese are able to look at a situation from a distance, they are not emotionally involved and have a fresh look. Background of the term wild goose? Well, when wild geese fly over the farm yard they trigger unrest. The tame geese startled out of their everyday life and want to join the migration. The flight of wild geese is infectious and brings life to the brewery.

Research shows that 3/4 of all companies admit to experience business blindness in their company. However only 8% works now and then with wild geese, just because most of them never thought of inviting them.

But it's not always like that! Today and tomorrow I am one of those wild geese for the FORTH innovation brainstorm with RAVO, a producer of street sweepers. Today we generated 513 ideas, 36 idea directions and 15 concept descriptions that we will elaborate tomorrow. Well I must admit that's more than I had hoped for. And yes some ideas are a bit wilder than they would have been without the "wild goose" like me participating.

So next time you organise a brainstorm: 1. Keep in mind that different points of view are more likely to generate refreshing ideas than similar ones. 2. Invite external participants, like customers, suppliers, knowledge centers, or creative minds. They might bring different perspectives. 3. A good ratio is 1/4 external people and 3/4 staff members.