Turning “blamestorms” into brainstorms

So I’ve been reading up on this new framework used in customer interviews, called Jobs To Be Done. It is interesting how some of the applications help strategist and businesses define what is really needed by the customer. What is more interesting about this framework, is how we as consumers hire products to perform a certain function for us, and if it does the function well enough, satisfying both our emotional and social needs, it might just be hired again. Seen in the “Milkshake man” example below in Clayton Christensen’s lecture.

I took this framework and tested it out in an agency environment, not for the client, but for agency folk instead. I’m sure many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being in a “blamestorm”. That’s when a group of agency people ends up with differing opinions, instead of an agreed creative idea from a supposedly brainstorm.

Most of the time, it’s due to misunderstandings and lack of compassion for one another. But if we look deeper into how the industry had segmented itself into the creative, digital, strategy and servicing silos, it certainly does look like we’re all selling something to each other within the organization. And that can never be the same over time, just like how we consume products and services.

Putting the JBTD hat on, try these 3 simple steps in your next brainstorm with peers. It might help get everyone along and hopefully give birth to a great idea.

  1. Using Alan Klement’s theory of defining motivations not implementations

    Start with a simple post it note answer variation at the start of the brainstorm. Stating “When ________ (state the situation of when the customer feels like using the brand’s product) , I want to ___________ (state the insight that is driven by the customer motivation to use the specific product). So I can ______________ (what is the desired outcome of the creative messaging). Note, there can be many answers for each label, it’s up to the team to step up and be creative and think deeper and not just implementation.

  2. Determine roles and why they are at the meeting, otherwise leave…

    This may sound harsh, but each and everyone at the brainstorm is someone for hire. You select the personnel because they have something to offer in the meeting. Use the same exercise with the group after the general discussion, to determine if each individual can bring something specific to the table to decide who would add value to the campaign.  This same reference question set is answered by each person in the group, and shared with one another – there could be functional reasons they want to be part of the campaign, there could be emotional reasons, and there can be social empowerment as well, such as “So I can look good among my creative peers in the agency“. There is no use forcing someone to work on a piece of work if he or she is not motivated.

  3. Document findings and participation

    It’s not only good for personal development, and feedback, but it’s great for coaching. Tools like this is essential in giving advertising personnel a reason to want to be part of the organization. It’s so hard today to find a reason to be part of a huge 150 employee agency, other than just typing away on the keyboard pretending to look busy.

This may be an early stage of this framework. It may not always work, but it would be good to test out and see if the rest feels it is a more productive and honest way to approach a brainstorm. Looking at Alan Klement’s theory, this is also a great way to frame a discussion, keeping it on topic during the meeting. Leave a comment below, if you find that it works, or drop me a tweet @BroodFeed.



One comment

  1. Interoperability is increasingly seen as critical for business success, but what is it? Simply put, it is the ability to work together.
    Interoperable organizations are those that can easily exchange information and subsequently make use of that information.
    Interoperability allows organizations to work without barriers and without extra effort with other systems or organizations.
    Individuals have already become highly interoperable, thanks to tools such as the social networks Facebook and Instagram, which both have hundreds of millions of users. These networks add value insofar as they promote communication and the exchange of information, making our lives feel more fulfilled. Without such tools, how would we keep in touch in a world where less time exists to socialize? Of course, connecting online shouldn’t be a substitute for face-to-face, but it does help us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves and to see other things happening around us more clearly.
    If you are interested, I have posted an article about Learning Innovation that you can read here:


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