Brainstorming is a beloved method of generating ideas. In theory, the whole thing is not that difficult. You sit down with your coworkers with the express goal of looking for creative notions, alternative solutions or unusual concepts. Nonetheless, how effective brainstorming is can become a problem. That flash of genius you were looking for can make itself scarce, and the oh-so-promising brainstorming effect fizzles out. We’ve put together ten tips to increase the likelihood of you bubbling over with ideas.
1. Quantity over quality – The more ideas, the merrier
Especially in the early stages of brainstorming, it is not so much a matter of the qualitative content of the suggestions, but rather of collecting a variety of ideas. So at the beginning, don’t exclude any ideas if possible. You can always sort them out later.
2. “Don’t be shy!” – Overcome your inhibitions
No idea is too stupid and no suggestion too crazy! Participants shouldn’t hold anything back – especially at the beginning of a brainstorming session. It is important that everyone feels free to express themselves. If not, you quickly run the risk of missing out on a lot of potentially good ideas.
3. Step by step – Refine ideas together
Once a suitable idea is found, it is best to discuss and develop it as a group. When everyone puts their heads together to deal with the same basic idea, you’ll see what directions it could take. This method fosters not only teamwork but also creativity.
4. We’re a team! – Treat all participants equally
When brainstorming, you should be mindful that all participants are treated equally. The intern or a part-timer can have ideas that bring your company forward, too. If you’re focusing exclusively on the boss’s suggestions, you might as well not bother with brainstorming.
5. Different minds, different ideas – Variety is key
From the boss to the temp – try to find a motley crew for your brainstorming group. That also applies to different departments. A staff member from IT might have different ideas from the employee in sales. The greater variety your team has to offer, the more creative ideas you’ll have to show for it.
6. Take it easy! – Provide the right atmosphere
A relaxed atmosphere is the foundation for successful brainstorming. Therefore, brainstorming sessions should not be planned too close to the end of the workday. You need time and calm for creative thinking. Be sure to have a casual atmosphere. Stress and fuss will prevent you from getting the desired results!
7. “What is really our goal?” – Ask the right questions
Before you start brainstorming, it should be clear what you’re aiming for. Brainstorming quickly becomes a fruitless discussion without the necessary orientation. Don’t lose focus during your brainstorming session, either. If the discussion drifts too far off course, step in to get things back on track!
8. Rome wasn’t built in a day – Don’t try for too much
You can’t always achieve what you want right away. Brainstorming can quickly become difficult when you’re having a mental block and will take up more time than planned. That’s why you shouldn’t aim for too much at one time and take breaks as needed to reignite the sparks of creativity.
9. Pay attention! – Write down good ideas right away
The penny has finally dropped? – Write down good ideas as soon as you hear them. When brainstorming, ideas get lost in the heat of the discussion more often than you’d think. If you jot everything down, you’ll avoid situations of having to remember what was said just five minutes earlier.
10. “What do we agree on?” – Summarize the results
A summary should be made at the end of every brainstorming session. Recap what was said and agree preferably right away on a certain approach or suggestion. This way, you will ensure that the results of the brainstorming are not forgotten and that they can actually be implemented.