You need an idea, a spark, some inspiration, a flash of creativity but you’re plum out of luck.
Well, you could get some help, assemble a team to assist you with finding the one idea to rule them all and hold a brainstorm session.
Holding a successful brainstorm session isn’t tricky as long as you plan it well beforehand, make sure to stick to the plan, otherwise it just becomes a chit chat rather than working towards the idea.
Here are a few little tips to get you to the holy grail of ideas.
1# Pick your dream team
Now a brainstorm session can range from 2 people to 100 people, depending on how many people you have at your disposal. It’s good to a have range of people with different interests, backgrounds, experience and levels of creativity. This way your brainstorm experience will be much richer and diverse, with the aim of ticking most, if not all, the boxes.
2# Lay Out Your Aims and Objectives Clearly
Put together an email, or share a document, with information that lays out the aims and the objectives of the brainstorm session, let your team know what you are expecting to achieve, and what the ideal result is. Pose the problem for them to solve, make sure you give them any relevant information they need.
By doing this it saves time not having to explain what they have to come up with and it gives the group time to think about it individually, before the session.
3# Send all relevant information 24 hours before
Sending the information 24 hours gives everyone time to read it, instead of 10 minutes beforehand. This will allow the information to brew in their subconscious, starting to get to work, thinking of new ideas.
As you have read in our previous blogs about being creative, the subconscious is key to creativity, when you are not thinking about it, the brain holds the information which it starts to construct into solid ideas.
4# Make sure you are all sitting comfortably
Think about where you are holding these brainstorms, somewhere without distractions preferably as you want your team to give you and the ideas their full attention.
Some offices are lucky enough to have breakout areas with bean bags, comfortable sofas, glass wipe boards, and snazzy tables to put your coffee down, but most offices don’t have this luxury.
Therefore, the use of a meeting room will be fine but remember this is NOT a meeting. Meetings, as we all know, are formal, and in order to get the ideas going your brainstorming session needs to be more casual.
Maybe try and get out of the office, head to a coffee shop or even a pub. By taking everyone out of the office environment and to go somewhere new, could help people get truly creative, as it is neutral ground.
5# Establish Brainstorming Etiquette
No, we’re not talking about enforcing rules or laying down the law but making sure the session goes as smoothly as possible.
Let people speak up without fear of being interrupted, let everyone have the chance to contribute and explain their idea. If everyone is speaking over each other you won’t have any clear ideas. Sometimes throwing a ball around a room helps as whoever holds the ball can speak.
Remind everyone that there is no such thing as a stupid idea expect an idea completely off topic. Sometimes an idea at first can sound like it is off topic but let the person explain how it links in.
Make sure someone is writing all the ideas down so they are visible for the group to see, as sometimes seeing it written down can spark more ideas, it might be worth investing in a glass wipe board as a focal point for these brainstorms.
6# Kick It Off
Kick off the session with a quick roundup of ideas the team may have come up with prior to the brainstorm.
Next try some word association or breaking down the subject matter to things that are associated with it.
Think about the time you have, obviously the longer you have to discover and develop idea the better, but sometimes even having a series of short sessions can help focus your thinking.
7# Keep People Up To Date
First thing you should do is to thank people for their time and the ideas they have contributed, this will make everyone happy to contribute in the future.
If their ideas are used or progress then let them know – keep them in the loop. By letting people know their idea was used will show respect to the person, their ideas and time they contributed.
So there we are, 7 tips to help hold your very own brainstorm session.
Remember bouncing half an idea off someone can turn into the perfect whole idea.