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  • Writer's pictureKaylie Dugan

The Heart of Better Ideaz: Structured Spontaneity

Structured Spontaneity

You may recall the basic conflict at the core of organizational creativity. In essence, each has different core needs. Organizations crave three things: order, control, and predictability. These needs are what lead to current success and long-term viability. Ideas are often strangled to death in this environment. What ideas need to thrive are chaos, messiness, and uncertainty. There must be space for infant ideas to grow and stretch. The environment that makes ideas happy often makes organizations cringe.

Think back a few years to the wonderful TV commercials for GE starring the weird yet colorful and hairy creativity monster who almost died from being stifled. The brilliant work from BBDO in New York makes my point exactly. [Interestingly enough, this is the same agency that originally created the brainstorming process. The creator was Alex Osborn who is the “O” in BBDO.]

Better Ideaz™ addresses this basic conflict through the use of Structured Spontaneity. The term was originally coined by basketball genius Pat Riley to describe how the sport works when played at the highest level. As a long-time fan and season ticket holder of the Golden State Warriors, Riley was speaking my language.

Really good basketball has two paradoxical pillars. First is structure, the basic skills of the game practiced over and over until players gain mastery that becomes second nature. Sports fans often refer to basketball IQ, another way of naming the vital structure of the game. And very few players achieve the elusive super-high IQ.

The other pillar is spontaneity, the flow and grace with which today’s modern game is played. It involves spotting the best opportunity to score or defend in real time. And because the spacing, pace and players are always evolving during the game, the possibilities are endless.

Two other activities that rely on Structured Spontaneity are jazz and improv.

So how does Better Ideaz provide Structured Spontaneity? The former relies on the process behind the sessions. It’s stable and repeatable and has been successfully used for branded products, services, and even corporate organizational initiatives. The structure is what makes organizations comfortable enough to relax their need for control.

The spontaneity comes from two ever-changing pieces. First is the Tools. We have over 50 proprietary Tools, which gives our facilitators a wide range of options to make each session unique. The second is the Dyads. We start the session by simply pairing people up who are sitting next to each other, or pre-assigning Dyads for virtual brainstorming. Then every 20 minutes or so the dyads change so that two new people are working together. The variety of the Tools and Dyads gives ideas the environment they need to flourish.

The results are magical.


Driven to Succeed is an award-winning global market research and consulting firm that compliments data (the “what”) with empathetic research and conversations (the “why”) to uncover actionable insights so mid-market companies and Fortune 500 brands can innovate and grow. Our team has walked a mile in your shoes with over 100 years of experience in Market Research, Marketing, and P&L Management for global iconic brands and startup companies across diverse B2B and B2C industries. Learn more at

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