Keith Harmeyer is a recognized thought leader on the topics of innovative thinking, creative problem solving, idea generation and advanced presentation and communication skills. An accomplished speaker and writer, Keith is co-author of the book, SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas. He has shared his insights with an international audience of thousands of corporate professionals from a wide range of industries. Before co-founding SmartStorming LLC, Keith worked at advertising agencies in the Omnicom and Publicis networks. He is a graduate of Loyola and Tulane Universities, New Orleans, of Coach University, and is a member of the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association.
In this conversation, Keith discusses his keynote at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2015 series.
Geetesh: Keith, you are doing a keynote this year at the Presentation Summit called Only as Good as Your Last Idea: Why innovative thinking is your most valuable asset. Can you tell us more about this session, and what takeaways can the audience expect?
Keith: Like it or not, today we all live and work in an innovation-driven world.
Many of us think of “innovation” as something that applies only at the corporate or organizational level, something that doesn’t have much to do with us, personally. But in fact, every one of us, no matter what industry we work in or what our job function may be, is under continuous pressure to deliver fresh, new, creative solutions to our customers, clients and employers—on a regular basis—or risk becoming irrelevant.
In other words, if you don’t come up with innovative ways of tackling challenges or capitalizing on opportunities… someone else will.
Innovation is a “big” concept. But in the end, it really comes down to ideas. Every innovative product, service or process ever developed – every persuasive and memorable presentation ever written and designed – began as someone’s idea. As we say at SmartStorming, in business today, you’re only as good as your last idea.
So how effective an idea-generator are you? How creative and fresh is your thinking? Are you an “every day innovator?” Or are you in danger of slipping into irrelevance.
In the presentation, I’ll discuss what it actually takes to be an effective creative problem solver, what often gets in our way, and what anyone can do to maximize his or her innate creative potential.
Attendees will even get the chance to experience a little rapid idea generation firsthand.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about your book, SmartStorming® The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas?
Keith: As I mentioned earlier, fresh, innovative ideas are the currency of success in business today. And the most widely-used process for generating and developing ideas in organizations is group brainstorming. At this very moment, as people are reading this, tens-of-thousands of brainstorms are taking place in offices and conference rooms around the world.
But remarkably, over 90% of individuals leading brainstorms, in any industry, have had no formal training in how to do so effectively.
The result: brainstorming sessions that lack an effective structure; are poorly planned and facilitated by team leaders who possess inadequate understanding and skills; all-too-often, frustration on the part of participants; and worst of all, disappointing results in terms of the quantity and quality of ideas produced.
The SmartStorming book is the most comprehensive book ever written on the topic of group idea generation. It’s a practical guide that provides everything the reader needs to know to plan and lead highly effective brainstorming sessions, every time—a proven meeting structure, essential leadership skills, and specific techniques designed to help groups think in new and different ways. In fact, we include detailed instructions for 20 different idea generation techniques, as well as planners, “cheat sheets” and more.
The book also contains tips for how to apply the concepts and techniques when working by yourself, and when working virtually with others.
What is the Presentation Summit?
For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Date: September 27 to 30, 2015
Location: Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, USA