“Please place your phone in ‘cell phone jail’ before you take your seat!”
This was something my teams heard me say often during my time as head of innovation and creativity at Disney. And I took it very seriously. “Cell phone jail” was no cute euphemism; I drew a real spot on the floor with a dry-erase marker. My own phone was always “captured” as the first prisoner, frown emoji and all.
I was adamant about my colleagues giving up their cell phones. It sent a signal to each attendee telling them it’s not enough to be physically present in this room—you must be mentally and emotionally present, too. I’ve talked before about how signaling is one of the four keys to unlocking better brainstorming sessions. And with something as simple as a “cell phone jail,” I reset the tone of the entire meeting. By doing so, I was able to consistently cultivate innovative ideas.
If you want to leverage the power of signaling and nurture the very best ideas from your teams, consider these points before your brainstorms.