Had the pleasure of participating in an IDEO-led creative idea-generating session at the NHL Executive Marketing Meetings late last week. And while the balmy temperatures at Mont Tremblant forced the cancellation of a pond hockey game with the legendary Mark Messier, that bummer was soon outweighed by the benefits of a few hours with IDEO.
IDEO themselves have become legendary in the marketing world for breaking down the barriers of standardized thinking, and after spending a morning with them, I learned why they were named one of the world's most innovative companies by Business Week last year (the only non-consumer goods producer in the Top 20 at that!). While the learning was extensive, these were the three lessons that provided the most Pow!:
1) I've been crowing about this for months, most recently in the last week's elevator carpet post, but the IDEO folks really nailed it in just seven powerful words:
Big ideas are just
tiny ideas in disguise
2) As a longtime, outspoken un-advocate of the Focus Group, I was pleased as punch to hear IDEO's concept on how to draw out truly revolutionary ideas. Instead of searching out representative samples of the population to find a please-all, "lowest common denominator," IDEO encourages instead a gathering of "extreme"consumers (those wildly passionate about the product or idea) in what they call an
3) And finally, as a mindset antithesis to the Deja Vu concept of "having been there before," IDEO encourages us to look at the same things with a brand new set of eyes, as if we've never seen them before. They call this:
And to think all I really expected to take away from this conference was a souvenir hockey puck, an official Habs sweater and the secret cell-phone number of Verizon Wireless's Steven Fox...