November 16, 2006
News & Opinion: Prop It Up
An essential part of successful single-minded brainstormingon your own or in a groupis the ability to concentrate on one area at a time. Every meeting needs an anchor, a focal point, and something that will help put tangents to the side, where they (by definition) belong. One way to do that is use a prop, a picture, or a page from a magazine that represents the idea and literally keeps everyone on the same page. (The most important thing is that that the item has to work with the proposition, or else youll spend time focusing in on the wrong idea.)
For example, if I go back to one of yesterdays hypotheses, I wanted to borrow from the success of iMac or iPod. So I would actually hunt out an iMac or iPod advertisement (theres plenty of them out there) and think how I would create a similar visual communication for my line of funky staplers.
Another way to use props and pictures is the I Spy approach. Look around wherever you are right now and ask yourself: is there something around you that might bring you one step closer to the answer you are looking for?
: : : :
By Lynn Altman, author of Brand it Yourself.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.