One of the areas that really fascinates me is the creative ways in which smart people utilize the online tools that the rest of us take for granted in some amazing ways. A case in point, is Yvonne Adele, who runs a creativity consultancy in Australia called Ideas Culture. It’s most unique service is Ideas While You Sleep, the world’s first overnight brainstorming service which is globally crowdsourced.
Here’s how it works: Clients go to the Ideas Culture website and enter their business challenge by 4:00 p.m. any day (in their local time zone); by 10 a.m. the next morning, they receive around 100 ideas generated by a small team of Adele’s 400+ “ideas agents,” plus an evaluation tool and action plan. These idea generators come from 12 different countries and range in age between 15 to 82; they include CEOs, housewives, students and consultants.
Adele used only Twitter to build up her workforce of Ideas Agents, and sometimes use Twitter for collaborative brainstorming among her followers, too. Typically, howeverm she usually I creates a Google Docs public spreadsheet and invites team members to contribute live to it. She also runs a creative thinking activity in the chat room on the right side of the screen. On one project, she reports the team generated almost 400 ideas in only one hour!
I’ve seen this type of “service while you sleep” service before, mainly in the area of web development. By employing a number of teams around the world and some high-end collaboration software, it’s possible to have a far-flung “virtual team” working literally around the clock on client projects. But this is the first time I’ve seen such a model applied to brainstorming. Brilliant!
Ideas While You Sleep is a form of crowdsourcing, but I like the way it improves on the concept. First, you must be a part of Adele’s team of Ideas Agents to contribute ideas. These aren’t public ideation calls, where anyone can contribute. Secondly, I admire the way Adele has leveraged free web-based tools like Google Docs and Twitter to enable this service.