Time to Brain Vomit!

brain vomit

If you don’t think there’s such a thing as a class on creativity, let me tell you that there is. I’ve taken it.

The professor was eccentric but a genius. The projects were incredulous but extremely entertaining. All in all, it was time well spent.

One of the best lessons I learned in that class had to do with the very beginnings of the creative process. When it came to sorting out ideas for projects, our professor encouraged us to not just brainstorm, but brain vomit.

“Everything that comes to mind, write it down,” he said, explaining that even if the ideas were far-fetched, they still deserved space. No idea was too small or too stupid in the initial brain vomit.

Last night, I was reading one of the final chapters in “The Disney Way: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company,” by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. Recommended by an Affiliate —who is to make his debut in an upcoming cover story — I couldn’t pass it up. In about 200 pages of anecdotes and related experiences, the authors dissect the success behind Walt Disney’s business. Although I’m not an entrepreneur by any means, it was still incredibly insightful, especially the bit I recently read on the planning process.

The focus of that chapter can be summarized in one word: storyboarding. The authors elaborated on how Disney insisted various processes in his company be planned out through storyboarding — basically, index cards with ideas plastered to walls and moved around as the process continues. The idea behind it all is to have everyone involved in planning through the sharing of ideas, ultimately helping to solve the problem at hand.

It reminded me of my class in college and what my professor had shared about brain vomiting. Sure, some ideas are better than others, but every idea needs to be heard. However, like the authors in “The Disney Way” pointed out, some people have a fear of speaking up even in a group of 14 people. By allowing them anonymity to share any and all ideas they have, everyone can get involved and feel like their contributions are valued.

Have you ever needed a solution for a problem at your Box? Like how to keep members around and hanging out at the gym? Or how you should rearrange equipment to get more space?

Maybe you’ve gone to that Coach you trust, or maybe it’s been the other co-owner you’ve brainstormed with. However, if you’re only brainstorming with one or two other people, you’re missing out on utilizing the people around you and conquering the brain vomit.

So, when the next problem arises, consider a brain vomit mixed with a bit of storyboarding. Get your whole staff involved. Have people jot their ideas down on index cards and then plaster them on the walls or your whiteboard. Discuss and analyze and whittle down the options. And remember to never take one idea for granted, because you never know when it could suddenly become the solution you’re looking for.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.