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Creating Alternatives - Facilitating the Creative Process

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Alternatives can be created while alone on a desert island, but as the old saying goes, “No man is an island.” So, the best scenario for creating alternatives is usually a collaborative activity.

William N. Yeomans, author of the book “1000 Things You Never Learned in Business School,” described creativity as “the ability to free yourself from imaginary boundaries, to see new relationships and patterns, and in that way accomplish new things of value (not necessarily monetary).”

Download Challenge # 14, an exercise for your right brain, which is the creative side of the brain. It will help release you from the constraints of your left, logical, orderly side. Give it a try!

The role of the leader of a productive problem-solving organization is to be the facilitator of the creative process.

  • Thinking that is outside the norms.

  • Thinking that looks at other processes.

  • Thinking that brings forward new innovative application ideas.

Therefore, before we talk about how to create solutions, let’s talk about facilitation purposes, processes and expected outcomes. Webster defines “facilitation” as “increased ease of performance of any action.” This is the key role of anyone who aspires to lead a team to develop a successful new venture.

The champion or leader that excels at facilitation will be the leader who has the greatest potential for success.

A facilitator’s role is to help identify problems, see patterns as they evolve, and articulate needs effectively. Most of all, these leaders are effective listeners and are experienced in assisting with ideation, leading to the identification of implementable solutions.

Effective leader facilitators are ready to work on alternative solutions to the problem because they have taken the time to do all the previous steps in the Problem-Solving Model and have not jumped over a single one.

If you choose not to follow the process outlined in this book, please find a proven one to follow which will reduce your risk of calamity with certainty. As the facilitator, your job is to ensure that a process for finding alternative solutions is followed and that everyone (as much as possible) concurs with the outcomes of the session.

A great facilitation handbook is written by Ingrid Bens and is titled Facilitating with Ease! It provides you with:

  • Tools to help you prepare for a session.

  • Processes for providing and gaining participation.

  • Systems to monitor the group and your own effectiveness.

Download Challenge # 14, an exercise for your right brain, which is the creative side of the brain. It will help release you from the constraints of your left, logical, orderly side. Give it a try!

Ms. Bens suggests that there are two questions that need to be addressed at the start of any session. Getting answers to these two questions at the very beginning will greatly improve your potential for buy-in to the session and commitment to agree to go forward:

  1. “What is the gain for the organization in solving this problem?”

  2. “How will I (each participant) personally benefit if we solve this problem or fix this process?”

Completion of steps laid out in Chapters 12, 13 and 14 in the i2P Problem-Solving Model will have provided you with most of the information you need to help create the answers to these questions. The answers are important because that information will be:

  • The fuel for the creation of new alternatives.

  • The spark that ignites the group’s creative dynamic.

  • The force that will encourage participants to look outside their confines and find ideas that can be mined as potential solutions or components of a solution.

Remember, “Yeah, but’s” are not allowed, and constraints are to be forgotten. Everyone should be expected to input positively into the discussion, so the use of “yes, and” has a dynamic impact on the ideation process.

Have you had a chance to listen to the i2p Podcast? Take a journey with Ross Blaine & Dr. Paul as they discuss concepts from the i2p book! Listen to Season 1 Today!

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