Ideation – A must have in the CEO´s toolkit?

In Ideation, Innovation, People engagement by SPARQ360

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Ideation - a must have in the CEO´s toolkit?

What is ideation and what is the connection to the toolkit of the CEO? What does ideation actually mean? To keep it simple, Wikipedia tells us in one word what ideation means. The main definition means a creative process. However it also comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization. Ideation can be conducted by individuals, organizations, or crowds. As such, it is an essential part of the design process, both in education and practice.


Creative thinking the opposite of good business sense?

What makes a lot of CEO´s suspicious of creative processes such as ideation. Having difficulty even promoting creative thinking involving ideating and idea realization within their companies. Why does leadership often hold back in this area?
Does the myth of the incompatible left/right brain sides still rule, leaving CEO´s with the idea that creativity and business do not mingle or at least creative thinking does not deliver the required results or profit? Creative processes and driving business results do not go well together. The left side at war with the right...

Maybe we should ask this question. Does delivering results or successful leadership involve creative processes or creativity? How often seemingly impossible problems come to the table of the CEO, manager or leader in general?
Can everything be solved logically or calculated to resolve the issue? I am sure we all have to admit that just plain old reason will not do it. Why don´t we acknowledge the crucial role creative processes play in business, in our companies and organizations. It is the hidden ingredient.

Watch this great animated video from TEDEd that unravels the myth of left brain versus right brain in 4 minutes.

Ok, maybe the majority just succumbed under the pressure of time and being busy is causing a lack of initiative in this area.  Some simply shrug their shoulders and consider it just a waste of time. Or are there still believers?

Here is some interesting food for thought.

Between September 2009 and January 2010, IBM interviewed 1,541 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector leaders who represent different sizes of organizations in 60 countries and 33 industries. In surveying more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from around the world, the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study found that chief executives believe successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require CREATIVITY.

Wow! Although the survey has been held in 2010 it is still amazing information. 


Nowadays leadership is being challenged even more than in the past due to the complexity of our society, quickly emerging and developing new technologies. The pressure cooker of a critical consumer society and opiniated employees challenges leaders. The world is changing at such a pace that is difficult even to stay on top or even keep up. Building on past knowledge and experience will not do the job anymore.
It is in our face and the realization is growing that we need to start doing things differently. We see this realization shimmering through in the IBM survey and it is more actual than ever. CHANGE, the ability and willingness to change is key. Requiring different tools get results like ideation. The good news is that a lot of our needed solutions are within our reach, within our companies and in the minds of our people.

The case for creative thinking and ideation

“Creative Thinking is important in any organization, but it’s often overlooked in one of the most important places: at the top,”
Ryan Holmes, CEO of social media management platform HootSuite

“Creative Thinking is important in any organization, but it’s often overlooked in one of the most important places: at the top,” said Ryan Holmes, CEO of social media management platform HootSuite.
“It’s easy to get consumed with the demands of the day and the relentless cycles of business planning. This can leave little time for truly creative thinking and also sap energy from your work. Often, you don’t even realize this is happening unless you happen to be pulled away from the daily grind and given a fresh chance to flex your creative and entrepreneurial muscles.”
Not only should you be consciously earmarking time in which to personally employ creative thinking, your organization’s culture should be one that promotes it.


Must have tool in CEO´s toolkit

Ideation as a creative process can be a great way to resolve problems, realize ideas for the purpose of continuous improvement, reducing costs and/or plain business growth. This underlines the fact that we need to embed creative thinking into the culture and not only have the CEO carry the load but also pick the brains of the people, the employees.

Yes, this where the rubber meets the road and ideation comes in as a crucial tool in the CEO´s toolkit. To activate the collective intelligence of his people ideation can be used to involve all employees and touch all levels of the company or organisation. Creating engagement and tapping into their ideas and not only depend on the ideas of an elite group like the management team. Thus what happens when the CEO starts to open up ideation as a tool it hroughout the whole organisational structure? Unlocking creativity, limitless opportunities, creating a highway for success as in business growth, continuous improvement and even reducing costs.

But it does not stop there. Ideation makes it possible to facilitate, motivate, stir up and align creative processes. A system to collect ideas, monitor the process, and drive sustainable results. It creates a culture of engagement where employees are heard and involved.

Ideation application

Applicating ideation means tapping into the amazing ideas people have within an organization, company or group. These are often ideas with large potential which unfortunately many times remain hidden, undiscovered. These could be the ideas that turn out to be the solution for a seemingly unsolvable problem or cause a long awaited breakthrough which results in the desired business growth.

At the start of the ideation process trends and best practices from other industries are shared to inspire ideas. Specific Ideation technology (like the SPARQ360 technology) will make it possible to show the most active contributors per campaign, to select key project team members for the realization phase. Furthermore Ideas will be collected and placed in an customized idea funnel, acting like a structured workflow management tool that enables monitoring progress & results.
To enhance the process, ideation campaigns can be launched for Open Innovation or Continuous Improvement purposes. Always keeping long term and durable results in mind. The possibilities are endless and easy to apply on any theme.

Ergo, ideation takes care of and guarantees an effective and successful idea generation, enhancement and selection of the best ideas from employees, clients and partners. Creating momentum and driving lasting results while creating a company culture where creative thinking is the normal. The sky is the limit. Welcome to the world of ideation.

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We offer a rare combination of knowing exactly where you are today and we have made the shift in perspective ourselves. We talk from personal experience, we know your challenges of today, what your journey feels like, what you most likely will experience, where it gets tough and how amazingly exciting this transformation feels at the same time. We have been where you are!

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