Self-doubt and self-censorship are real creativity blockers. We often quash the first thoughts that come into our minds as unworkable or stupid.
We could be right, or worse, we could even be wrong, however the most important issue is that thoughts are not flowing. Thoughts and ideas held back by doubt build up to form a barrier, clogging further ideas from flowing. The answer is simply to flush out all the bad ideas (or stinkers) first. Get them out of the way – and free the brain (and creative confidence) to flow in the process.
The Stink Flush is a brainstorming exercise. Elect a facilitator and scribe, then gather around a whiteboard.
Start by verbalising what the challenge is that you are trying to address in a way that everyone clearly understands.
Take no more than 5 minutes brainstorming: “what would not work?”
Try to encourage as wild, farfetched and implausible answers as possible. Write them all down, no exceptions.
Next ask: “what would achieve the opposite?”
Bring out all the things that would achieve the opposite to what you want. Things that would make a problem worse, for example.
Wrap-up by briefly reflecting on all the stinkers you have flushed. Did you feel freer and more creative? Were any of them diamonds in the rough? Which ones could be changed in some way?