Brainstorming is for solutions, not for ideas.


What headline should I use? A story about a camel?

Here is why: people don’t gather around the campfire, buckle up for smarty pants time and start throwing ideas into the air! People tell stories around the campfire. Also, families don’t sit at dinner, put the genius hat on and emit weasel ideas to each other, families share their life.

In general, gatherings are where we humans put our experience out, mix it with the one the others put out, and then absorb it back in, as a better, fuller and more optimised interpretation of life.

That is the reason why brainstorming for ideas is a horror that must be ended.

Brainstorming, everyone’s favorite fun or worst curse, is a good practice only if employed at the right time. Before brainstorming, there are previous steps to consider.

First, you set on the idea through ideation. Second, you reach the agreement that it’s a good idea through analysis. Only third do you brainstorm, and you do it to find solutions.

Brainstorming solutions are basically a plan on how to make the idea a reality.

I hate committees, and you should too


Ideation is the process of selecting and fine tuning ideas, not the process of finding ideas.

The idea to search for ideas is stupid. Yes, there are stupid ideas, plenty.

If one is a person without ideas no process or activity will help, it is a personality aspect.

Many introverts falsely believe to not have ideas because they lack the easiness of spelling it out loud. That is why before any ideation process, every participant must make their own set of ideas, filtered by their own values and knowledge. Then they present their set, in turns, unintrerupted, so that introverts get their chance to express themselves.

Then the group waits for incubation.

This is the biggest missed step everywhere, incubation.

Without incubation, no creativity, only ingenuity, which is a very different beast. After incubation, you can start ideation, the process of picking the right idea and forming it to become more general than the original, a.k.a. fine tuning the idea.

Spotting ideas is a personal activity.

I don’t think we can search for ideas, and therefore ideas cannot be found.

Ideas surface out of personal interpretation and we spot them or not. Sure, we all like to bounce concepts, stories and leads with one another, but after we bounce this in small talk, or water cooler interesting chat, or say, after meeting impressions, or sharing personal events, we melt what we got back from the bounce in our own, personal and unique interpretation.

ideas are the patchwork of originality inside your model of the world

Ideas then surface as part of our view, our personal take on the subject matter. The skill is to spot ideas: the patchwork of originality inside your model of the world, regarding the subject at hand. It can be trained like any other skill, but that also means idea spotting can be a talent. In fact, the truely skilled or talented spot ideas in other people’s minds.

Without incubation, no creativity, only ingenuity, means that with ingenuity you pull out undone concepts from your incomplete model on the subject.

Ingenuity is a product of the randomization process which any brain does to find possible predictions. Ingenious people are prone to produce volumes of ideas and, failing to see the haste, we waste, money, time and energy on possible stuff. But anything is possible.

Ideas are when the brain finds probable suff.

Probability appears when possibility is immersed in inference and deduction.

Incubation is needed because, while deduction can happen on the spot, inference is based on the time consuming retrieval process inside our brains. Retrieval of memory is complex and usually requires the activation of weak neural systems, which in turn take time to build enough excitation.

Intuition is when ideas are correct, meaning, when we use exclusively true facts and data in the model we build on the subject and stick to that to come up with original bits.

Time is of essence for good ideas.

Look closely and you’ll see how the biggest business people gave themselves the time they needed to incubate. Sometimes that incubation time is their actual career, sometimes is their hobbies, sometimes it is their workaholic habits, but it is always something that buys time for incubation.

A mission is an idea, a vision is a solution.

They can occur in inverse order, that means you may have your vision and extrapolate a mission from it. That is what extrapolation does, generating ideas from solutions. That is why it is possible to stumble in a good business and get a mission and a vision later, in the growth stage.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, good ideas are priceless. Ideas are a dime a dozen, because an idea is the pretty sister of an opinion. Good ideas are priceless, because we see their real value only late after execution.

There are plenty stupid ideas.

Ideas become stupid when the emitter fails to see that it is only an idea, and confuses it with one of the following three things: an explanation, a theory or an instant solution.

You will not find very often people who can formulate explanations. A solution is not an explanation, and this is why we keep repeating mistakes: after embracing a solution we don’t invest in getting the explanation. Explanations are comprehensive stories on what occurred, complete with how it could have been prevented. There are many solution finders around, but few explainers.

Theories are great in business, not only in science. You know, the whole drill: assumptions, predictions, ways to test, demonstrations and the awesome q.e.d. at the end. For some reason we fail to incorporate this model of discovering and saving knowledge in business, despite an acute need for it.

If you think it is because business is more about practice and less about theory, I hope you do realize that some businesses are so removed from the practice they were once founded on, because of their size, influence and history, that they have become social experiments a long time ago. Where is it a better place for finding theories that work?

Experience gives ideas. Expertise gives solutions.

Knowing what you get from either experience or expertise, is where you make your mark as a manager in keeping people engaged, spending your hiring budget properly and creating roles.

A person with both experience and expertise is rare, because experience is general and expertise is specific. The unicorn executive has specific experience and general expertise. Specific experience is findable because of luck, but general expertise is extremely rare, because time is limited for everyone.

Leadership means trickle down meaning

There is no trickle down economy, but there is plenty of trickle down things in business: objectives, direction, vision, mission, empowerment and other parts of leadership.

In fact, leadership is all about trickle meaning from the top to the lower layers in an organisation, answers from “why am I here”, and “why should I stay here”, to “why would I sacrifice anything here”.

Management can be a seriously awesome activity and executive level management even more so, as it has the opportunity to offer people true unmediated value in the form of meaning, the missing ingredient of existence.

Here is a funky camel for you: