Today’s blog post is from Jeffrey Hammer, one of ITK’s new trainees

If you’ve seen the ITK tools, some of them may look familiar. Lotus Blossom? That’s brainstorming. Stormdraining? Organizing a brainstorm. Mission and Vision Canvas? Companies have been defining their vision and mission for years, with one of the earliest known mission statements going back to 1941 in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology. So why ITK?

The answer for me lay in two areas. First, the tools facilitate these common processes in a different way. I thought I was an experienced brainstorming facilitator, even integrating mind maps in my sessions as far back as 2000. Lotus Blossom upended that thinking and gave me an entirely different way to approach a brainstorming session. The design of the tool itself, combined with the facilitation guide, invigorates fresh thinking. Mission-Vision uses plain language questions and leads a team down a path that eventually culminates in a mission or vision statement without you even realizing it.

Second is the ITK philosophy. There is an energy and culture behind these tools that its creators have infused into their design and use. It’s a positive, experimental, nurturing culture that encourages the novel thinking needed for innovation. That philosophy radiates from the founders and ITK evangelists, and is infused not only in the tools themselves but also how they can be applied to maximum effectiveness. And they are fun! Every tool I have used with a team has been met with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

As newbie and (hopefully) soon to be minted ITK Certified, I continue to learn and grow with each new experience. If you can embrace the novel approach these tools offer to scoping, designing, understanding, generating, and evaluating problems and ideas, it will take you and your team’s thinking to a whole new level.