Mix Up Ideation By Adding Someone Outside Your Target Audience
Homogeneity is a questionable goal in many situations—but it’s particularly counterproductive during ideation. So when our clients are assembling a team for a project, we recommend they bring people in a variety of roles, from across the organization: marketing managers, market researchers, product development and innovation managers, creative agency representatives, sales team members, and so on.
In addition to diverse roles, it’s critical to include diverse perspectives and different styles of creativity. This is because every style adds to the likelihood of success—innovative dreamers challenge the team, synthesizers weave the unexpected from the known, and planners help make things happen.
It’s no surprise that assumptions are sometimes made related to roles on a team. Just because people are responsible for certain tasks day-to-day doesn’t mean that role showcases their comfort with risk and creativity. For example, at the start of a recent project, the R&D lead jokingly introduced herself as "The Dream Killer." As the project progressed and she met every snag with, “What if we…?” the team was obliged and delighted to rechristen her "The Dream Maker." Her perspective and creative style were just as important as her area of expertise.
It’s really the same principal that applies when hosting a successful party. Everyone has more fun if you invite guests that—ahem—bring different things to the party. When teams do this, they usually find that the magic is in the mix. And that’s a win for everyone involved.
Cynthia Ryan is an Emeritus Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.