In innovation, we obsess over “how”, give lip service to “why” and never follow through. There are more books to showing you how to run a design sprint, hackathon and brainstorm and few on why you need to run them. While we obsess over the “hows” we end up in mediocrity if don’t understand the “whys” In his Number one New York Best Seller book, The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth am I Here for? Rick Warren accentuates how the lack of purpose blocks direction, “Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, or other externals—hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart.
Purpose narrows your focus; When I am facilitating a brainstorm (semi-structured, team-based method of idea generation) half of the time is spent on clarifying the problem statement. Before you solve a problem, you want to know;
- Whether the problem is process, tool, or product based?
- Who is most affected by the problem?
- The source of your deduction on who is most affected.
- What insights or signals will show us that we have this problem in future?
The answers to the above questions clarify the purpose of the brainstorm. One of our clients in the Information Technology space had a problem; its clients, the development agencies found it hard to refer to the system that was used to pay farmers in their report. It had no name yet it was effective, everyone called it what they thought was right and it led to inconsistency in reporting. So, we conducted a brainstorm to find ideas for; A brand name for an IT system designed for; development agencies, to improve traceability, accountability, and transparency. By the end of the brainstorm, we had over fifty names, zeroed down to three and eventually chose one name for the system.
Purpose directs your life so that you can major on majors and not minors. In reference to purpose giving you direction, Zig Ziglar says, “Don’t go through life as a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific” Think about that!