The cure for sticky note fatigue

2019, Esther van der Storm


There they are again: packs with sticky notes in different colours. You’ve participated in so many brainstorming sessions. And no matter how much fun these workshops are, you also know that nothing happens to all the well-conceived plans afterwards. That’s the problem with post-its: they stick, but the ideas that are on them often don’t.


Sticky note fatigue; I come across it in many organisations. And I get it. Seven years ago I myself was very tired. I was done with it, attending meetings that didn’t involve any actions. I was tired of writing notes that didn’t involve anything. That had to change!


I quit my regular job and started to focus completely on boosting innovation within organisations. I got trained in using innovation methods such as Creative Problem Solving and Design Thinking and was completely blown away by it. Just like the people with whom I applied these methods. By solving a problem within their organisation in a completely different, creative way, many more good ideas were created and people went back to work full of energy.



After a while something started to gnaw again. At the end of my workshops I noticed the ideas were more innovative and the participants went to work more cheerfully, but I also noticed that of all their great ideas, nothing was ever realized after all. It is an essential problem of many innovation projects. Everyone wants to get the job done and implement the solutions, but hardly anyone does. Too exciting, too difficult, too little time. The result: post-it fatigue. Because no matter how lovely those sticky little papers look, they ultimately symbolise the great ideas that did not make it in the end.



That insight came hard, because I love to work with post-its in my workshops. It became my mission to make sure that all those good ideas no longer disappear into a drawer. That all the plans that participants are bouncing around at the end of a session are really taken up. With that in mind, I founded STORMPUNT. With STORMPUNT we make sure that something actually happens with all those great ideas within your organisation.


How do we do that?

By spending at least as much time on the elaboration and realisation of ideas as on the creative side. For me, this means that I often take on a different role in innovation projects. Not only as a facilitator, but also as a project leader. Together with people from the organization I determine what is needed to actually realize ideas. I set up experiments and supervise them. Sometimes I even take those old notes out of the drawer to ensure that an executive team or board agrees to carry out a pilot.


My goal is: action.


And honestly? Sometimes it’s best to look for that. The realization phase is very tricky. A lot of people don’t like it, because it means they have to make difficult choices that don’t make everyone happy. The reality is that in the realisation phase you encounter countless difficulties, which sometimes makes you want to throw in the towel. Do you know that moment? That’s when you have to keep going.


First step

The very best tip to get into action quickly is quite simple: determine your first step. Nothing more and nothing less. Executing an idea can quickly become huge and complicated, as soon as you start thinking about what needs to be done. Don’t fall into this trap and make sure you simplify. What first step, if any, can you take today to bring the idea one step closer to realization? Maybe you can discuss your idea with a colleague. Or look up practical examples of this idea on Google. Whatever your step, make it so small that you can immediately connect an action to it.


And then…





And the day after, you repeat it. A new first step. The next day, you do the same trick again. If you keep repeating that… …you’re suddenly well on your way. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” Prove him right!



Do you have a project or idea where the realization phase could use some love? Is there a problem in your organization for which you are looking for a creative solution that is actually realized? We are happy to tell you what we can do for you from STORMPUNT.