Last Updated on 14 February 2024

I’m not trying to coin a new term… It’s just a catchy headline for what I call “the nouns of innovation.” We were taught early that a noun is a person, place, or thing. I use this model to describe the key components necessary for creative problem solving and, ultimately, innovation.

While the CreativityLab discussed in the previous post is about a PLACE… I don’t suggest that that’s where creativity can begin and end.

It would help if you had the right NOUNS to innovate… the right people, place, and things…

Nouns of Innovation

  • PEOPLE – Include the right participants. Make sure you have someone who understands the objective and problems you’re trying to solve…

Include subject matter experts who best understand the problem, issue, or need you’re addressing.

Should stakeholders be present? Will they feel more a part of the implementation stage if they’re part of problem-solving? Or will they hinder the process? You be the judge.

If you’re building a top-level strategy, ensure your participants aren’t too junior. On the other hand, a high-school Junior will cut through any chest-beating VIP with a simple, “I don’t get it?” (Remember the scene in “Big” where Tom Hank’s character Josh – who’s a little kid grown BIG – says “I don’t get it?” when he was presented with demographic and psychographic research ‘proving’ that toys in the shape of buildings would appeal to kids?)

  • PLACE – BrainStorm in a conducive space. Plain… … at your office… in an exotic location… As long as the space is comfortable for the participants and allows them to focus on new ideas, it doesn’t matter where you’re creative. However, it IS easier to think out-of-the-box when…
    • …you’re not in a space that feels like you’re IN a box,
    • …you have things to keep your hands busy and to get your mind working… that’s why you find Play-Doh, Silly Putty, and other gadgets at BrainStorming sessions,
    • …you’re away from phones, e-mail, and office distractions that don’t allow focus on the problems at hand.

    Check out my PLACES link to find a space designed explicitly for out-of-the-box thinking…

  • THINGS – Have the right tools and resources. Simply gathering in a room with a few flip charts and whiteboards isn’t going to get you very far. Knowing a few BrainStorming techniques and methods to get the group thinking differently are vital in creating wicked good ideas. My¬†TOOLS page is a great place to start getting a list of THINGS you may need.