During a traditional Japanese business meeting, one participant started spurting out dozens of ideas about how to solve a current business crisis. At first the businessmen around him assumed he was having a nervous breakdown. Then it dawned on them that this was the renowned “brainstorming” they had heard of, a creative process invented by an advertising executive in the 1950s.
Like jazz musicians improvising at the slightest opportunity, they threw caution to the wind, cast formality aside and started sharing any ideas that entered their minds. All ideas were written down with equal enthusiasm. No ideas were criticized and nobody was belittled. Pretty soon everyone was inspiring everyone else to ever higher heights of creative thinking. Funny, impractical and outrageous ideas were shared without regard to planning, production, cost or other realities of the business world.
When the energy and excitement died down, they started looking through the list. Most ideas were ridiculous and put good-natured smiles on their faces. But a few shockingly insightful ideas stood out like golden nuggets.
Through happy happenstance they stumbled upon one game-changing idea that changed everyone’s perspectives, sent their profits soaring, kicked off a revolution, launched a new paradigm and transformed their world.
Years later, when they were all billionaires, they looked back and wondered why they hadn’t tried brainstorming before.