Certainly the essence of learning is discovering new ideas. Too often in our hurried search for efficiency, we forget how to generate and savor the ideas that our organizations need. Creativity literature is full of suggestions on ideation that urge us to rearrange, recombine, restate , restructure, synthesize, simplify, question, and change our thoughts to increase the power of our ideas.
Dr. Karl Albrecht , author of this activity, takes the elaboration function of creative thinking one step further to "protecting ideas". His "P.I.N." formula can be part of an organization's defense against what he calls "collective stupidity". Dr. Karl is considered one of the pioneers of the concept of Organizational Intelligence, which he defines as "the capacity of an enterprise to mobilize all of its brain power, and to focus that brain power on achieving its mission". His "P.I.N". formula speeds this mobilization !
This activity helps trainees learn to suspend judgment, appreciate the potential of new ideas, refrain from killing the ideas of others (as well as their own), and show their colleagues and team members how to do so, using a simple three-step formula.
To define, explain, and apply the three-step "P.I.N." formula
To persuade others to use the "P.I.N." formula in meetings as a way to suspend judgment and protect new ideas from premature criticism
PowerPoint slide: The "P.I.N." Formula
One flipchart with paper and markers for each team (for example, if you have 5 teams you'll need 5 flipcharts; 12 teams , 12 flipcharts)
Room is set up for teams to work at flipcharts, one flipchart per team. Each team works at its own easel.
10 to 15 minutes at the flipcharts; 10 to 15 minutes more for discussion
Divide participants into teams of 3 to 5 people.
Explain how premature judgment can result in killing good ideas before they are fully appreciated.
Explain that by requiring one's self to react to a new idea in three steps, one can save new ideas from early extinction . The three steps are pointing out Positive aspects of the idea, then pointing out Interesting (or Intriguing) aspects, and only then allowing one's self to point out Negative aspects. Use the "P.I.N." Formula PowerPoint slide as an illustration.
Propose an unusual idea for the teams to consider ”the more unusual or controversial the idea, the better the exercise works. Examples: (A) Institute a national identification card for all citizens; (B) Require all citizens to vote in national elections or pay a fine; (C) Impose a "fat tax" on unhealthy foods to encourage people to avoid gaining weight.
Assign teams numbered 1, 4, 7, 10, and so on, to list as many Positive (P) aspects of the proposed idea as they can on their flipcharts. Assign teams 2, 5, 8, 11, and so on to list as many Interesting (I) features of the idea as possible on their pad. Assign teams 3, 6, 9, 12, and so on to list Negative (N) aspects.
After the teams have had a few minutes to make their lists, have them rotate to the next easel pad in sequence ("P" teams move to "I" pads, "I" teams move to "N" pads, and "N" teams move to "P" pads). Each team then adds more items to the list made by its predecessor.
After a few minutes of adding P, I, and N aspects to the lists, have them rotate again, so that each team will have had the experience of adding to all three types of lists.
Each of the three cycles of list making will take progressively less time, because each team will be adding to an existing list.
After the list-making process is completed, invite the participants to share any discoveries they have made during the exercise and to discuss practical applications of the P.I.N. Formula in business meetings and discussions of various kinds. Emphasize the importance of the skill of suspended judgment and remind them to apply the P.I.N. Formula at the next possible opportunity.
3120 Old Bridgeport Way #100
DR. KARL ALBRECHT is a management consultant, futurist, speaker, and author of more than 20 books on various aspects of personal and organizational effectiveness. He is recognized as a leading authority on the development of practical intelligence. Karl's book B rain P ower (Prentice-Hall, 1980), a best-seller on creative thinking, was the basis for a popular training film of the same title, starring actor John Houseman. He also wrote P ersonal P ower (Prentice-Hall, 1981), a guide to self-esteem and interpersonal skills, as well as B rain B uilding (Prentice-Hall, 1982), a primer on improving one's logical thinking skills. His book S ervice A merica in the N ew E conomy , coauthored with Ron Zemke (McGraw-Hill, 2002), is an update of their earlier book (1985) with a similar title that sold a half million copies in seven languages. He has also written O rganization D evelopment : A S ystems A pproach (Prentice-Hall, 1983), T he N orthbound T rain : F inding the P urpose , S etting the D irection , S haping the D estiny of Y our O rganization (AMACOM, 1994), C orporate R adar : T racking the F orces T hat A re S haping Y our B usiness (AMACOM, 1996), and T he P ower of M inds at W ork : O rganizational I ntelligence in A ction (AMACOM, 2002).
His firm's clients have included AARP, American President Lines, Apple Computer, Australian Gas Light Company, Chrysler Corporation, CIA, Doubletree Hotels, East Japan Railway, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Longs Drug Stores, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Norwegian Cruise Lines, PaineWebber, Pepsi, Santa Monica Hospital, Queens Medical Center, Qantas Airlines, Shell Oil, State of Hawaii, US Army, US Department of Commerce, US Navy, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Xerox. He has lectured at conferences sponsored by management and trade associations around the world on six continents.
Karl Albrecht created the AMA seminar 2538, The Brain Power Course: Learn to Develop Your Thinking Skills, and licensed it to AMA. His four-style Mindex Thinking Style Profile is featured in several AMA seminars and is used throughout the world for self-assessment, executive team building, and communication training.