Get 12x More Ideas than Brainstorming

by Richard Haasnoot

Get 12x More Ideas Than BrainstormingInnovation Needs Ideas. How About 12 X More Ideas Than Brainstorming?

Innovation will only be as successful as the number of high-quality ideas available to inspire, inform, and guide the process.

Recognizing that ideas, especially high-quality ideas, are critical to innovation’s success, first Doug Hall and then my team at Innovate2Grow Experts developed an idea generating process that consistently delivers at least 12 X more ideas than brainstorming. Doug pioneered this approach at Eureka Ranch and has two Oklahoma State University studies that confirm the 12 X result. We took his version 1.0 and developed version 2.0 which probably generates about 20 X more ideas than brainstorming, with all of the increase coming in much higher quality ideas.

This article begins a series outlining the four elements of what we call Quantum Idea Generation (version 2.0). The goal of this series is to provide you with the fundamentals that you can immediately use to help your own innovation programs.

The Quantum Idea Generation process is typically used in the upfront inventing of the ideas with the potential to achieve a company’s vision of success and in line with the strategy to achieve that vision. While this is its typical use, Quantum Idea Generation can be used for any need, for any business problem or opportunity where high-quality ideas are needed.

Here is a brief overview of the four critical elements of Quantum Idea Generation. Future articles in this series will dive deeper into each of these elements.

  1. Diversity: each creative session has the option of including three major sources of diverse skills and experiences. The sources are relevant internal company expertise, relevant external expertise that does not duplicate the company’s expertise, and external general management and creative expertise. The level of needed diversity for a particular project depends on the importance and challenge of the innovation need. While it is an oft used innovation cliché, it is difficult to get out of the box ideas from people that live in the box.
  2. Stimulus: we utilize five different types of stimulus that serve as the sparks for idea creation. The right stimulus immediately gets people thinking of new possibilities they never imagined before the creative session.
  3. Left and Right Brain Creativity: generally speaking, everyone can be equally creative. It is well documented that left and right brain people create their best in significantly different ways. We know the left and right brain makeup of a creative group and specifically design creative exercises based on the group’s composition.
  4. Eliminate Fear. Have Fun: absolutely nothing kills creativity faster than fear in a group. There are three basic sources of fear that we very proactively eliminate from a session. Then, just as proactively, we inject high levels of positive energy and fun into the creative process.

Each of the above links will take you directly to the appropriate episode in the Innovation Best Practices podcast, with listeners in 80 countries. Each podcast takes you deeper into the subjects. Future articles will take you even deeper into each of these elements.

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Richard has spent most of his career in and around innovation – senior leader at Procter & Gamble and Gallo, professor at Arizona State University, author of six books, and a very successful entrepreneur in the innovation and creativity business. He’s a regular podcaster. Check out and Follow him @Innovate2Grow


  1. Might you supply the reference information for the two Oklahoma State University studies? Thanks!

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