Lifesaver candies got started when Clarence Crane a candy salesman sought a solution to his problem of chocolate melting during the summer months. Retail stores wouldn’t order chocolate form him during the summer. So he decided to start a summer line of hard candy mints. Mint candies at the time were square and pillow-shaped. Because of this shape, they were relatively expensive to produce. So Mr. Crane contacted a pill manufacturer to produce flat and round candies. He also wanted his candies to look different, so he decided to put a hole in the middle. When he did, he noticed they looked like little lifesavers, hence the name.

Unfortunately for him, Crane failed to realize the potential of his new product. He considered them to be a sideline. Sales were dismal. One day, New York ad salesman, Edward John Noble, tried to convince him to advertise the mints. Crane wasn’t interested, so he sold the rights to the adman for a small amount of money.

Once he secured the rights, Noble thought, “Why sell to only candy shops?” He inspired his family and close friends to brainstorm by brainwriting with him on how to market Lifesavers. They created several ideas and, finally, agreed on one.

The idea they agreed on was to put them in drug stores and restaurants near the cash registers with a  sign selling them for five cents. He then told store owners to make sure every customer received a nickel in change. They did, and Lifesavers soon became one of the world’s best-selling candies, and Noble became a multi-millionaire.

The idea generated by brainwriting made Lifesavers a candy success story

Horst Geschka and his associates at the Batelle Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, developed a variety of group creative-thinking techniques called Brainwriting. In traditional brainstorming groups, people suggest ideas one at a time. This is serial processing of information: i.e., only one idea is offered at a time in a series. Brainwriting, in contrast, allows multiple ideas to be suggested at the same time. This is parallel processing of information: i.e., many ideas produced at once in parallel. If a brainwriting group has 10 members, up to 10 ideas will be generated for every one generated in a typical brainstorming session of 10 members. Brainwriting increases idea production dramatically.

The basic guidelines are:

  1. First, discuss the problem to clarify it. Write the problem in a location visible to all group members.
  2. Distribute 3X5 index cards to each participant and instruct them to silently write their ideas on the cards. One idea per card. Whereas group brainstorming involves participants shouting ideas out loud, “brainwriting” has people silently writing down ideas.
  3. As participants complete a card, they pass it silently to the person on the right.
  4. Tell the group members to read the cards they are passed and to regard them as “stimulation” cards. Write down any new ideas inspired by the “stimulation” cards on blank cards and pass them to the person on their right. Within a few minutes, several idea cards will be rotating around the table.
  5. After 20-30 minutes, collect all cards and have the group members tape them to a wall. The cards should be arranged into columns according to different categories of ideas, with a title card above each column. Eliminate the duplicates.
  6. Evaluate the ideas by giving each participant a packet of self-sticking dots and have them place the dots on their preferred ideas. They can allocate the dots in any manner desired, placing them all on one idea, one each on five different ideas, or any other combination.

Only one person can offer an idea at a time during brainstorming, and despite encouragement to let loose, some people hold back out of inhibition or for fear of ridicule. Brainwriting ensures that the loudest voices don’t prevail, participants feel less pressure from managers and bosses, and ideas can’t be shot down as soon as they are offered. You can design your own “brainwriting” format based on the two principles:

(1) Idea generation is silent.
(2) Ideas are created spontaneously in parallel.

Michael Michalko is a highly acclaimed creativity expert. To learn about him visit: https://imagineer7.wordpress.com/about-michael-michalko/

To learn about his books visit:https://www.amazon.com/s?k=michael+michalko%5C&ref=nb_sb_noss_2


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