Brain-calming Vs. Brainstorming
Posted on: May 25, 2012 | Creative Leadership
By Think Jar Collective member Colin Funk
In the early nineties a wide variety of arts-based approaches to creative problem solving and idea generation surfaced. One of the most popular forms that emerged was that of Improv Theatre. Improv Theatre offered spontaneity, fun and playful ways to get “out of the box”, and as a result it was positioned as a powerful accelerator for group brainstorming. As leaders from all sectors today find themselves in uncharted waters, the demand for not only quantity, but quality of ideas is paramount. Just as potent as the many powerful techniques from the world of Improv Theatre, comes a more appropriate practice and inquiry tool for these times – Brain-calming.
Brain-calming is the counter-point to spontaneity – it is the fundamental technique that actors use for preparation to enter on to the stage. Primarily this involves slowing down, connecting to breath and body, and engaging in focused visualization – a precursor to accessing deep knowing, confidence and courage. Many of us experience the effects of Brain-calming (off stage) as a powerful idea source when we are in the shower, on long drives or walks, or emerging from a dream. It can assist us in developing deeper contemplation, focus and competency in meta-cognition – all critical for avoiding a leader’s blind spots. For leaders, Brain-calming gives us permission and techniques for making the ordinary “extraordinary”.
Brain-calming techniques are on the rise and can be seen routinely in many private and public organizations as meditation, learning partner walks, slow food dinners, conversation cafes, and journaling. It is a learning modality that is often embraced by more introverted individuals, or those that prefer clarification and idea development, rather than the intensity and extroverted action often associated with ideation and brainstorming.
As we begin to strategize on how to best navigate the uncharted waters of the future – in our personal lives and in business – perhaps it is time to invest in the “calm” before the “storm’.