Here’s 10 tips to get the most out of your next brainstorming session. Steve Jobs’ legacy leaves most of us craving for our own workplaces to be more innovative; our teams more creative and our contribution to it all more impactful.
So what do we have to do? Generate ideas and solve problems. And how do we do that? Brainstorming of course.
Brainstorming sessions however, remain for many a mythical notion that feels out of our own realm of capability, better left to the lucky few who can sit round in a circle, chew the fat for a few minutes and spur the creation of a personal computer or ipod. We brainstorm every day at Hidden Door HQ as we strive to meet clients briefs in imaginative / realistic ways, and to be totally honest we have varying degrees of success. Why is this?
It is widely agreed that traditional brainstorming is flawed (fear of being judged, lack of preparation, limited creative minds etc etc), yet this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, if done properly it can be the perfect (free) team building activity.
Below are 10 quick tips to ponder. Read on, make notes and perhaps the next time your boss orders you into a meeting room for a ‘quick brainstorming sesh’, rather than feel petrified with eyes darting to the fire escape, you may be a little excited to delve into the right side of your grey matter…
1. Create a Positive and Inclusive Environment
Foster a welcoming atmosphere where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. Encourage open communication, and emphasize that all ideas are valued. A positive environment promotes collaboration and sparks creativity.
2. Define Clear Objectives
Begin your brainstorming session by clearly outlining the goals and objectives. Providing a roadmap helps participants focus their ideas toward specific outcomes. Whether it’s solving a particular problem or generating new concepts, having a clear purpose guides the brainstorming process.
3. Diverse Team Composition
Assemble a diverse team with varied backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. Different viewpoints lead to a richer pool of ideas. Including team members with diverse skill sets ensures a comprehensive exploration of possibilities and solutions.
4. Set a Time Limit
Keep the energy high and maintain focus by setting a reasonable time limit for the session. Short, intense bursts of brainstorming often yield better results than prolonged sessions. A time constraint encourages participants to prioritize and express their ideas efficiently.
5. Encourage Freewheeling
Foster a freewheeling atmosphere where creativity knows no bounds. Encourage participants to think outside the box and avoid self-censorship. Allowing for unconventional ideas in the early stages can lead to breakthroughs that may not have surfaced in a more restrained environment.
6. Combine Group and Individual Thinking
Strike a balance between group discussions and individual reflection. Begin with a group brainstorming session to generate collective ideas, then allocate time for individuals to refine and expand on those ideas independently. This hybrid approach combines the strengths of both collaborative and individual thinking.
7. Utilise Brainstorming Tools
Leverage various brainstorming tools and techniques to stimulate creativity. Mind mapping, SWOT analysis, and the six thinking hats method are just a few examples. These tools can help structure thoughts, encourage lateral thinking, and provide a framework for generating innovative solutions.
8. Embrace Failure as a Stepping Stone
Instill a culture that views failure as a natural part of the creative process. Not every idea will be a winner, but each one contributes to the overall exploration of possibilities. Encourage participants to learn from setbacks and use them as stepping stones toward more refined and viable solutions.
9. Facilitate Constructive Feedback
Establish a constructive feedback mechanism to refine and improve ideas. Encourage team members to provide feedback that is specific, actionable, and supportive. Constructive criticism helps polish rough concepts and enhances the collaborative nature of the brainstorming process.
10. Document and Review
Assign someone to document all generated ideas during the session. This ensures that no valuable insight is lost, and it provides a foundation for future reference. Schedule a follow-up meeting to review and prioritize the ideas, turning them into actionable plans for implementation.
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