At Premier the NPD department is a technical team that has to make the ‘off the wall’ ideas of the marketing department come to life. With technical expertise and bias, they do not see things from the creative point of view; their default reaction to any creative suggestion was to envisage the technical and scheduling challenges. Drawing NPD teams from four sites, managers at Premier wanted to open their minds to greater creative possibilities and encourage individual and group creativity.
We provided a one day course for 30 people, splitting them into mixed teams of five for the day and set out the room bistro style employing a series of exercises that took them down a logical path and process for creativity. It had to be logical because most of the delegates were chemists or engineers and that worked for them, they also needed a process that they could follow and we chose De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats structure (it also meant we could all wear silly coloured hats with sequins on which was great fun and relaxed everyone enough to fully participate).
All the delegates were given a range of creative thinking tools that they could use in groups or on their own, as well as the awareness to allow new ideas to flourish and not be killed off, as US adman Charles Brower said "A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a joke, or worried to death by a frown on the right person’s brow".
Focused, inspiring and motivating, the day turned out superbly for everyone and the programme is now set to roll out throughout Premier Foods.
"All the teams really enjoyed the day and took away a wide range of thoughts and anecdotes…and were still recounting them! Comments like ‘best ever’, ‘just what we need’, ‘never had that style of training before – really good experience’, were voiced back at the different sites. The only big challenge seems to be what to do with the glitter hats, in the interests of food hygiene!"