The idea of using “prompts” to drive innovation is one that I find highly interesting. My only real experience of a similar concept has been my occasional foray into creative writing, and my perusal of various websites and online forums where people share creative writing prompts and examples of the work that can arise from them.
An excellent example of this type of activity is the following subreddit:
Essentially, one member of the forum supplies a writing prompt giving brief details of a situation, event or person; then other members craft their own story based on that prompt. It’s easy to get caught up in reading through the stories, and absolutely fascinating to see how the same prompt can result in so many completely different narratives, styles, and moods.
What makes me think this method could be applied to innovation and do wonders for creative inspiration is the diversity of responses to each prompt. Members of the forum can take a writing prompt consisting of a single sentence and create hundreds of different stories on the basis of that single sentence. Some are funny, some are sad, and some can actually be pretty scary.
It’s clear that these prompts inspire something different for each person who reads them. I feel that prompts can equally be used for innovation, leading to team members freely sharing their thoughts and coming up with new ideas. Sometimes getting the creative juices flowing requires a little push; there’s no telling where the right push could lead.