Brainstorming techniques in business are usually measured and focused on output and results. While these are great criteria for determining the value and purpose of brainstorming, trying to develop a rigid system that guarantees results simply isn’t realistic. Productive brainstorming should be centered on allowing colleagues to get creative and tap into their sense of fun, freedom, and fanciful ideation. Trying to enforce hard and fast rules on imagining solutions imposes undue pressure, so try these brainstorming session tips to unleash your team’s full creative potential.
1. Establish Space to Create
Brainstorming sessions can be exciting or nerve-wracking for team members. Make room for all feelings and ideas by starting the meeting with icebreaker warmups to help idea flow feel more natural among the group. It can both help those who are shy or uninspired to find a new mindset and galvanize those already bringing enthusiasm and excitement for a balanced team.
In addition, while great ideas can come from anywhere, keep in mind that hosting much larger groups will need more effort for facilitation and may end up prolonging the session to keep things fair. If you want the full team to interact over ideas, think about rotating small groups so everyone has a chance to collaborate effectively.
2. Allow Offbeat Ideas
Leaving judgment at the door is a great way to get the best from your team, even outside of brainstorming sessions.
While not all ideas are good ideas, that sort of thinking doesn’t work for brainstorming. Out of the box insights stem from the freedom to break the mold and envision radical new frontiers. Break the ice early in the meeting and cultivate a trustworthy environment for wild thoughts to spur creativity.
Brainstorming session tips for encouraging the “out-there” ideas include asking plenty of questions, including the famous “How Might We…” exercise from Stanford.
3. Write Everything Down
In a brainstorming session, quantity creates quality. In this rare instance, more is actually more. Prepare to write down every idea, and in doing so, you build trust within your team by creating a level playing field for allowing the ingenious ideas to take the time and space they need to grow. While sometimes a bolt of lightning strikes and a full solution falls in your lap, waiting around for a chance encounter with inspiration isn’t productive. Creativity, believe it or not, can be practiced and strengthened over time. The best way to do that is allow for good, bad, and neutral ideas to share the same space to help improve the collective of ideas.
4. Leverage Solo and Group Thinking
Brainstorming in a group doesn’t have to be entirely a group effort. Sometimes just ideating alongside others can make individuals more productive and creative. To make the most of this tip, set aside time within the meeting for participants to reflect quietly to themselves before sharing with the group. Then, when everyone has had a chance to see what they bring to the table, everyone can elaborate on each other’s ideas. Some teammates may be more collaborative and may not have many ideas from the individualized time, but at the same time, freethinking will help break stagnation, foster a clean slate of thought, and make contributors more effective when it’s time to share and delve deeper on specific ideas.
5. Remember Your Why
A good way to make the most of your brainstorming session is to regularly revisit the core elements the team is trying to improve with ideation. If you do have a slew of seemingly disconnected or random ideas, see if there’s a way to find the common thread among them to deepen the ideas and find how they would be most useful. While limiting ideas is frowned upon within our brainstorming tips, following a general pattern or structure when working on ideation is a great way to help make creativity become practical rather than some nebulous activity.
Bonus Tip: Enlist Extra Help!
Teamwork is a crucial part of productive brainstorming. If you’re stuck or keep running into the same hurdles with your brand or business, reach out to our experts here at USA Link System for personalized support and ideas. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!