Follow-up on brainstorming: practice session on crumbs

In the past I have mentioned the need to practice brainstorming (The terrible word of "Brainstorming"). It is important to practice, like anything you do, otherwise you will loose skill or never learn any new ones.

So to really get in the habit you need to practice regularly. This means finding opportunities to practice generating (the brainstorming part) ideas. The opportunity can be everyday issues. I recommend finding something simple at first; don't overwhelm yourself with the major things yet ("Increase revenue by 50% in Q4"...:) Also, don't stress out. It is just practice... But do try to push yourself a bit every time you work through a problem/idea generation session.

Here are some working rules:

  • State your issue or problem and be clear in the issue/problem statement.

  • Number all your ideas as you capture them; this is good to help know where you are in the generation process (have I reached 100 ideas?) and it helps when refering to a specific idea.

  • Aim for a specific number of ideas in a set amount of time, just to set a goal. It's like setting your marathon time goal; you need something to target.

  • Do not evaluate the ideas as you capture them. Just capture them. Evaluation is a different activity.

  • Build on captured ideas to create new ideas.

Fast Company has an article (Seven Secrets to Good Brainstorming) with the rules expanded a bit and with much better copy around why the rules are needed.

Ok, here is my first challenge.

Crumbs on the floor irritate me. It just bugs me. Some foods crumb (is crumb a verb?) more than others. Couscous is a major crumb generating food (by definition!). Those folks with any kids knows the truth about crumbs: kids are super crumb generators! My seven year old son somehow always misses eating over his plate and food crumbs hit the floor like steel to a magnet: fast. So my problem is personal (should I loosen up a bit?). To help define my problem a bit more: The crumbs bug me because I walk around the house in socks and crumbs that collect on my feet feels all wrong to me.

So the problem can be looked at several ways: How can I stop crumbs from happening, How can I prevent them from sticking to my feet, or how do I make the crumbs just "disappear"?

  1. Just clean up the crumbs.

  2. Serve crumb free food.

  3. Have person who make the crumbs clean them up.

  4. Have a crumb eating pet.

  5. Have a floor with a grate in it to allow crumbs to fall through to the crumb pit.

  6. Have vents on floor that suck up crumbs as they fall.

  7. Let the crumbs fall on the floor and build up the floor to a solid footing.

  8. Have another person clean up the crumbs to remove self from the annoyance.

  9. Have a strong suction pull crumbs off the food as it is eaten.

  10. Have a plate that has ability to make crumbs stick the the plate.

  11. Have a built in sucker on the plate for the crumbs.

  12. Buy a Roomba robot cleaner.

  13. Have a device worn by person while eating food that sucks crumbs up as food enters mouth.

  14. Put down a crumb matt to catch them all up.

  15. The fork has the crumb sucking device build in.

  16. Waiter comes by after each bite and cleans up (is this what crumb waiter is?).

  17. Floor has ability to absorb the crumb due to some fluid / crumb dissolving agent; crumbs disappear when they hit floor.

  18. The floor is a conveyor belt that whisks the crumbs away.

  19. Slats in the floor rotate every few minutes to dump crumbs in to the crumb pit.

  20. Electrostatic crumb attraction device grabs crumbs as they fall.

  21. Crumbs are cleaned up with a special "crumb duster", sort of like a feather duster for crumbs.

  22. I have special crumb vacuums in my "socks".

  23. After reading this list I am sure a few of you have some ideas to pitch! Remember, don't evaluate, just get those ideas flowing.

After reading this list I am sure a few of you have some ideas to pitch! Remember, don't evaluate, just get those ideas flowing.

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