Different thinking styles and personalities can lead to problem-solving and creative thinking, but as a leader how can you harness that variety into a cohesive group to determine a solution?
The good news is, you’re not alone in this situation. Nor were employees at Irving-based Kimberly-Clark. That’s what led the paper goods and personal care company to launch IdeaStorm, a free-of-charge, brainstorming framework to help individuals and teams approach creative thinking and problem-solving in a multi-faceted way.
The foundation of IdeaStorm is encouraging team members to take on Original Thinker roles, such as Inventor, Dreamer, Nonconformist, and Analyzer. Within those roles and their attributes, team members debate, examine, and discuss. The Nonconformist, for example, might rely on out-of-the-box thinking in approaching a challenge or issue. Meanwhile, the Analyst will be asking the “how” and “why” questions to determine a solution.
During the innovation process, Original Thinker roles are reassigned. The team member who was an Analyst could be assigned to the Dreamer role; the Nonconformist becomes the Muse; and so on.
“Kimberly-Clark is freely sharing this tool with everyone to celebrate the value of Original Thinking in seizing opportunities, solving the toughest challenges, and building a better future.”
Team members then continue free-associating in their new roles, bringing fresh perspectives to issues under consideration. Roles are reassigned, and team discussions are repeated as many times as needed, to generate the desired amount of ideas. The website, WelcomeOriginalThinkers.com, also offers an Original Thinkers Quiz to determine yours and your team members’ particular personal thinking style.
Thomas Merrill, senior director of global R&D, innovation, and capability for Kimberly-Clark, said IdeaStorm is a good tool for teams that are stuck, or that might need a way forward with a particular plan. The framework allows for teams to develop new solutions to a problem “by using different original thinking styles for short bursts of time,” he said.
“The beauty of IdeaStorm is that it can be used by anyone, whether alone or in a group — both in-person and virtual — to achieve breakthrough ideas,” Merrill said. “Kimberly-Clark is freely sharing this tool with everyone to celebrate the value of Original Thinking in seizing opportunities, solving the toughest challenges, and building a better future.”
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