If you’ve ever been part of a brainstorm session that boomeranged from over-the-top-zany ideas to more-practical-but-not-quite-boring concepts, then you have a pretty good idea how your brain works.
Which isn’t how everyone thought brains worked, not that long ago.
Everyone used to think there were two sides to a brain, and two types of people, based on what part of their brain was dominant. Those who used the left side of their brain were realistic, analytical, practical, and logical, while those who used the right side of their brain were imaginative, emotional, colorful, and creative. You may have even heard that someone was left-brained, or have been told that you were right-brained.
Well, it turns out that brains don’t quite work that way, and one region or side of the brain is simply not enough to handle everything.
Depending on the task, multiple sections of the brain communicate and interact with other sections in order to complete the task. Neuroscientists have identified that different tasks engage different combinations of brain areas. These separate brain areas work together to operate like networks, so of course they gave them network names.
For example, if you are trying to fit your luggage in your trunk, your Dorsal Attention / Visuospatial Network is likely to be activated. However, if you focused on creativity, you might use The Executive Attention Network (focused attention and reasoning), The Imagination Network (memories and imagination), and/or The Salience Network (coordination between brain parts), working together or separately, each network activated or deactivated at various stages of the creative process.
Okay, that’s likely more than you wanted to know.
Suffice to say that the creative process involves every part of the brain, from the logical to the outlandish. And it works.
Which is why your brainstorm sessions need to work like your brain.
Creative people are not the only ones who can come up with creative ideas. Creativity belongs to everyone, and everyone has something to add.
Make connections with other departments at your credit union and invite a few of them to participate in your next brainstorming session. Embrace the talent and insight that each person brings, and use each component to build higher.
That small weight of reality might be just the balance needed to make ideas fly.