Cloudy With a Chance of Ideas
We’ve all had an unproductive brainstorm session, either as a group or individually. It’s actually more of a braindrizzle (sorry, I had to). So what can you do to turn that drizzle into a deluge of ideas? How do you have an effective brainstorm session? The following steps will help solve your creativity woes.
Set a Goal
Before you begin, set a goal of what you want to have accomplished by the end of a session. Do you want to have a final idea agreed upon, or just have a list of five concepts to discuss later? Make sure participants know what that goal is so that everyone goes into the meeting prepared.
Set the Requirements
What is the budget? When is the deadline? Questions like these are essential because you want to be realistic. Nobody wants to come up with a plan, then hear “Actually, we can’t do that.” That kills the creative process and is discouraging.
Encourage One Another
Speak up and put your “bad” idea on the table. It could inspire someone else and lead to a domino effect where everyone feeds off each other. In order to do so, you must trust and encourage your employees and colleagues (which we addressed in last week’s company culture e-note).
Keep Conversation Flowing
Keep talking through what you already have, but don’t get too caught up on one concept. The whole point of brainstorming is to generate and discuss ideas. More conversation equals more ideas. Developing and assessing them comes later.
The time will come when you hit a brick wall and can’t think of any more ideas. It’s possible you’re having trouble thinking of just one. There are various ways to get creativity flowing. You can listen to music and dance around or go for a walk. These active options can stimulate your thinking and might help you find that spark.
You can also attempt a more conventional approach such as developing a “mind map.” Create a diagram that starts with a central idea, and then branch out into major sub-topics. This exercise can provide fresh insight. If you’re really struggling, try doodling. Take an object and draw its tiniest parts individually. Thinking about an object’s elements can break you out of a traditional mindset and lead you to consider it in a new way.
These steps are not set in concrete. You can tweak them to fit so they’ll work for your company. Better yet, give us a call. We are expert brainstormers and we can help you with all your creative needs.