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The most critical step in innovation, creative problem solving, brainstorming and strategic planning is what to do after the initial session!

You have spent the time, money and resources on coming up with a lot of amazing ideas … Now What??

Here are the steps you need to take immediately following the session!

  1. Upon completion of the planning session, type up the report of all the ideas. It is critical that the person transcribing the notes is someone who participated in the session. Handing off the notes to someone who wasn’t in the room means that they have no context for what took place! Distribute the report to everyone in attendance.
  2. After distribution of the report, convene a face to face ‘filter’ meeting with as many of the original guests as possible. Other key stakeholders that will be involved in bringing the selected ideas to light should also be included in the ‘filter’ meeting (agency partners, sales, R&D, packaging, supply chain, and research).
  3. EACH person who attends the ‘filter’ meeting is to have read the report several times and be 100% familiar with its contents.
  4. The ‘filter’ meeting should be 2.5 hours in length. To kick off the meeting, the facilitator starts by asking each of the guests to create their own list of at least 3 criteria that a concept must fulfil to make the cut. It is important that this be done separately for a 1 year, 3, and 5 year plan as criteria may vary.
  5. As 1 large group, each guest contributes their ideas for criteria and a master criteria list is created for the 1, 3, and 5 year plans.
  6. Each guest then silently and individually selects their top 3 concepts based on the criteria (for the 1, 3, and 5 year plans), and writes them down. Guests must be ready and able to defend why they selected those concepts.
  7. The facilitator then leads a discussion where the selected concepts are discussed together with the rationale as to why they are strong based on the criteria.
  8. This is the time and space for negative thoughts and comments. Be sure to maintain a list of possible concerns/roadblocks with each concept.
  9. Make a final group decision on the winning concept(s). Make sure everyone is clear on why the concept(s) was selected so they can clearly and effectively support and communicate it.
  10. Create a timeline, responsibilities, and a project team for the winning concepts. Decide on who else needs to be involved, or not involved as the case may be.
  11. Agree and commit to a meeting schedule where everyone attends with status updates. Meetings should be 30 minutes … no longer! Invite the right people to the right meetings to keep the projects moving forward, on schedule, and on budget.

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Post it note with writing. Now What?