Creativity for success

Brainstorming? No thanks! The one who screams loudest does not always have the best ideas. There are numerous methods to develop innovative, clever and interesting ideas. brandhub draws from a large pool of possibilities, always finds the suitable method for your questions and promotes out-of-the-box thinking – leading to exceptional results.


In everyday life, we usually rely on assumptions and attitudes that we do not further question. This works well and efficiently in most cases. For a dialogue, however, we need a proactive attitude. Fresh ideas take us forward, provide answers to existing problems and create new perspectives. The dialogue method, based on the dialogue philosophy of David Bohm, is an efficient tool to achieve this.

Innovation by adopting the METHODS BUFFET

" Innovation starts with an 'I' " - Individuals are the source of innovations. There is often much more creativity in our heads than one would ever believe. This potential can be released by adopting the appropriate methods. brandhub draws on a variety of tools ranging from the HANDSTAND method, the INDUSTRY THIEF (idea finding), the SUPERBOX and the DECISION WEDGE (evaluating ideas) all the way the HOW-HOW DIAGRAM (implementing ideas).

Methods for successful presentations

Power Point without power! We regard boring slides filled with text as something absolutely normal. However, they are not in line with today's reading and communication behaviour. The ability to make an effective presentation is indispensable - be it while facing a large live audience or through the Internet 'before the entire world'. It is always about telling stories. Slides, images and symbols only support the speaker, not the other way around.

Whoever is curious, learns more!

When, if not now ...

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Dialogue method

Brainstorming sessions seldom end with good results. Either the highest ranking, the most dominant will wins his ideas or no innovative idea will emerge at all. A very good alternative to brainstorming is the INNOVATION DIALOGUE, suitable for groups of 5 to 50 people.

Based on the rules of David Bohm’s philosophy of dialogue, a moderator is appointed to lead the dialogue but take on a passive role at the same time. Chairs are arranged in a circle and an object to be passed around is chosen. We do not recommend the use of a ball because it is too often thrown back and forth. The task should be communicated to everyone from the very beginning. You may choose a topic or a concrete question. Bear in mind: less is more.

Step 1

The check-in round. The moderator hands over the object of choosing to a participant who briefly introduces himself to the topic and then passes it on to the next participant. The only person allowed to speak is the person holding the item. The check-in round ensures that each participant is able to speak at least once.

Step 2

Following the check-in round, the item is placed in the centre of the circle of participants and the dialogue may thus begin. From now on the item will always be taken from the centre and placed back. As in the check-in round, only the person holding the item is allowed to speak. The moderator may only intervene if, for example, someone is holding a monologue, or the dialogue only takes place between two people.

Step 3

Once the topic is exhausted, it’s time for the check-out round. The check-out round is quite similar to the check-in round. All participants make their contribution: they mention what they noticed, they summarise the dialogue from their own perspective, describe their new findings etc., etc., etc…

The most difficult role is not that of the moderator but that of the participants. We often find it difficult to do seemingly profane things, such as listening. But before we are capable of listening to others, we need to listen to ourselves first. What thoughts, evaluations and ideas arise within us? It often takes only a few words from someone before we silently start judging, arguing, weighing, rejecting or agreeing. Only once we are aware of this phenomenon can we begin to push these automatic reactions aside. To genuinely listen means to listen to others without prejudice or judgement.

Keep thoughts floating

A central task is to keep the thoughts floating. By that we mean that one neither acts, nor does he doubt his thoughts, nor does he suppress them. This implies that thoughts are neither considered true nor untrue, neither wrong nor right, and that they are not to be judged in any manner.

Granted, that’s difficult. So, try the following technique: Picture a cloud in the blue sky and store your thoughts in that cloud. By doing so, you now rid yourself of your thoughts. Then, choose to either move on with the cloud, to dissipate or to remain where you are.


Curiosity makes it possible to ask questions that really move us, to explore these together and develop something that did not exist before and would not have been possible had we tried alone. This is how innovation and growth emerge from dialogue.

Thinking vs. thoughts

In our everyday life we do a lot without giving it much thought. We rely on assumptions and attitudes that we do not question. In most cases we function well and efficiently by adopting such an attitude. However, by doing so, we stick to pre-determined thinking strategies, which might lead to a discussion, but certainly not to an innovation dialogue.

Dialogues require a proactive attitude, meaning less passive thinking and more active thinking. Thinking drives us forward, provides fresh answers to existing problems and creates new perspectives.

By the way: Anticipate a little more time if you decide to launch an innovation dialogue instead of a 10-minute brainstorming session. This highly depends on your initial position as well as your questions. For a first test run, it would be reasonable to count half an hour.

The methods buffet: finding, evaluating and implementing ideas

” Innovation starts with an ‘I’ ” – Individuals are the source of innovations. There is often much more creativity in our heads than one would ever believe. This potential can be released by adopting the appropriate methods. From brainstorming to implementation

1. Finding ideas

Handstand method

Step 1 – Turn your challenge upside down

Rephrase your challenge or problem into its opposite. Rebuild the sentence from scratch.

  • Example for challenge: What do we have to consider in order to create a successful concept?
  • Example by adopting the HANDSTAND method: What do we need to do in order to fail with the new concept?

Pin the rephrased challenge to the centre of a board so everyone can see it. The advantage of rephrasing is that paradoxically, we know exactly what doesn’t work and why. We see mistakes, obstacles and problems much clearer than solutions.

The HANDSTAND method always works when a problem is well rephrased into its opposite – this is especially true for untrained teams.

Step 2 – Collect ideas on how „not to do it“

Ask each team member to think of ideas and to write them down on cards. Each team member should write on his own and remain quiet while doing so (so-called brainwriting). The purpose is to use one card per idea. Plan approximately 10 minutes for the brainwriting phase.

Step 3 – Cluster and sort the negative ideas

Is your team is writing fewer and fewer cards? Now would be the time to bring the ideas together. Collect the cards and spread them in the middle of the table, read them aloud and discuss a systematic order of ideas, e.g. by categories. You will discover that this is a cheerful experience for all. While using the HANDSTAND method, the most absurd ideas come to light and this in turn creates a delightful atmosphere.

Step 4 – Render visible

Save all sorted ideas on a pinboard for the next step. The goal is to have all results of all steps at a glance, in order to bear them in mind.

Step 5 – Turn the ideas the other way around

The next step consists of turning “negative ideas” back into positive ones, serving as a direct source of inspiration for the “right” ideas.


SCAMPER is particularly suitable for questions arising during the idea development process for which a version already exists – for example a product or a procedure. The status quo is used as a basis for SCAMPER questions in order to see what could be changed. Use the SCAMPER method once you have developed ideas with the handstand method.

S = Substitute

  • What can be substituted?
  • What can be used instead?
  • Who can be included instead?
  • Which process could be used instead?
  • What other material could be used instead?

C = Combine

  • What can be combined?
  • What can be mixed?
  • How could certain parts be combined?

A = Adapt
Adapt, Ajust

  • Is there something similar that can be applied to the existing problem?
  • Are there similar situations from the past?

M = Modify
Modify or expand / enhance

  • What change could be introduced?
  • Can you change the meaning?
  • How could you change the colour or shape?
  • What could be modernised?
  • What could be expanded or enhanced?

P = Put (to other uses)
Use differently

  • What could it still be used for in its present state?
  • What could it be used for if it were changed?

E = Eliminate
Omit or reduce

  • What could be omitted?
  • What could be left out for it to continue to work?
  • What could be reduced or lowered to a lesser extent?

R = Rearrange

  • What other patterns would work?
  • What could be exchanged?
  • What could be rearranged (activity, person, process)?


The INDUSTRY THIEF is a simple method that helps one to think out-of-the-box. Choose an industry or a company and think about how you would tackle the problem there.

Every company has its traditions, values, rituals, procedures or patterns that have been consolidated over the years. On the one hand, this means security, alignment and positive routine; on the other hand, it can lead to a standstill in innovation in the sense of ‘We have always done it this way’.

Ask yourself the question: What would XY do?

Industries and companies

  • Telecommunications company
  • 5-star hotel
  • Amazon
  • Major bank
  • Watchmaker
  • AirBnB
  • Fashion boutique
  • Apple
  • Chartered accountant
  • Google
  • etc.

2. Evaluate ideas

Decision wedge

The DECISION WEDGE is a method to check all possible ideas for practical feasibility. It is less about the creative advantages and more about the implementation.

  • The POSSIBLE section should contain ideas that might be implemented.
  • In the PROBABLE section, the number of ideas is already significantly lower
  • The PROCEED section does not necessarily mean that a finished idea will see the light of day, but that at this early stage of evaluation it is considered sufficiently promising to move on to the next stage of development.

It is important to ensure that the ideas listed in each section are realistic and adapted to the resources available.


The SUPERBOX is an idea selection technique that transfers collected ideas into a grid and prioritizes them qualitatively and quantitatively.

The box contains four fields, of which three are filled with predefined criteria for selection:

  • Now (Blue Ideas): Normal ideas that can be implemented immediately
  • Wow (Red Ideas): Innovative, original breakthrough ideas to which maximum attention should be paid
  • How (Yellow Ideas): Exceptional ideas with future potential, but which cannot be implemented at the present time


  • Horizontal: Originality (normal to high)
  • Vertical: Feasibility (simple to difficult)

The SUPERBOX can also be understood as a sort of qualified clustering.

3. Develop/implement ideas


The HOW-HOW DIAGRAM is a structured tool of tactical thinking that supports the creation of an action plan. It helps to make general solutions as concrete as possible.

How to proceed:

  • Write down your idea/solution or measure to be implemented
  • Ask yourself HOW? many times and write all possible steps and options on the right next to the solution. These may differ from each other.
  • Now develop a second How level. For each action step, ask yourself HOW? again and again and write the answers on the right. These may also differ from each other.
  • Continue the HOW? questions until you come to a logical end of the individual actions and asking HOW? no longer makes sense.
  • Based on the generated steps, now select those that are relevant for you.

Tip: Post-it notes are particularly suitable for this variant.

Develop action steps

An action plan is used at the end of a creative process in order to actually implement the developed solutions. If the creative process takes place over a longer period of time, it is possible that an action plan will be drawn up after each step.

  • Idea
  • What?
  • How concrete?
  • Who?
  • Until when?
  • Report to whom?

How to proceed:

  • Create a list of possibilities of a first, simple and concrete step to get the ball rolling
  • Select a step that becomes your first step on the map
  • The more concrete and binding the work, the easier it will be in the end to really do something.

The most common errors:

  • How concretely? is often defined too vaguely or too abstractly
  • Who? should always be a person, never a team. Even if that person delegates the task
  • Until when? Always specify an exact date and avoid expressions such as ‘until the end of the year’ or ‘tbd’.

Preparation and design of presentations

Power Point without power! It is unfortunate that we regard boring slides filled with text as something absolutely normal. Although such presentations are held millions of times a day, they are not in line with today’s reading and communication behaviour. They are not effective.

The ability to create an effective presentation is more important than ever. One reason for this is the potential reach of a presentation – whether the presentation is held in front of a large live audience or through the Internet ‘while facing the entire world’.

Even multimedia-supported lectures are about telling a story. Slides, pictures or symbols merely support the speaker, not more.

The three components of a presentation are

  1. Slides that the audience sees
  2. The notes you take
  3. Handouts for the audience


1. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of event am I attending? Why am I being asked to speak there?
  • How much time am I granted for my presentation?
  • Who are the listeners? What do they expect from me?
  • What is it I want to convince them of?
  • What is my core message? If my audience could only keep one point in mind, what point would that be?

2. Plan analogously

Take a pencil and paper, use whiteboards or post-it notes.

3. Develop your story

What makes a good story? What makes it stick? Simplicity – unpredictability – concreteness – credibility – emotionality – reduction.

The more complex the topic, the more simplicity is needed; reinforcement through simplification.

  1. Collect ideas, content, statements, etc.
  2. Group them together and find the core message of the presentation (or start with the core message and build the story around it)
  3. Create a storyboard (refining step 2)
  4. Sketch out your slides (always by hand)
  5. Create a storyboard on the computer (star slides and slides for the audience)

How to design a slide (the big five)

  1. Create contrast
  2. Insert empty spaces
  3. Repetition of design elements
  4. Alignment (the golden ratio, 1:1,618)
  5. Create proximity/connectivity

Pictures and symbols loosen up a presentation and illustrate what has been said. Here is a selection of image databases: (license-free, free of charge) (license-free, free of charge) (license-free, free of charge) (license-free, free of charge)