You’re back to the office for your team’s first in-person brainstorming session after a year… now what? Great ideas don’t just happen. In this article, we will discuss what you need to get the creativity flowing for your team. Brainstorming can be utilized in every department and within every position. Incorporating these six crucial aspects of a successful brainstorming session can make a huge difference in the success of your business.
Don’t let the official brainstorming session be the first time the members of your team have thought about the topic! First, encourage each person to brainstorm independently beforehand. Ideally, they will come ready with a list of ideas. This encourages individuality and multiplies the perspectives being represented. Team members will feel they have more of a personal stake in the topic if everyone has already been pondering long before you get together. Feeling heard and represented by leadership encourages further creativity and better productivity.
Second, avoiding a “sameness” in your team will help you avoid always coming up with the same ideas. The quality and creativity you desire in any brainstorming session will only be as good as the people that make up your team. Original thinking depends on collaboration and diversity in today’s innovation-focused, competitive marketplace. Diversity fuels innovation. Innovation fuels growth and ultimately increases the bottom line. Increasing your profits starts with diversifying your brainstorming sessions. Be a company that makes creativity the center of all meetings. Conformity is the last thing you want seeping into your brainstorming sessions.
Next, assigning a designated facilitator to lead is extremely valuable. Every member of your team should feel equally represented in successful leadership. Facilitators aren’t there to crunch down on others’ opinions and enforce personal ideas. They help keep everyone on track. Facilitators greatly increase efficiency by asking clarifying questions, taking notes, and creating an agenda for the brainstorming session. Having a focused facilitator is the difference between a casual chat and a successful collaboration.
Fourth, everyone should feel comfortable sharing what comes to mind. This point cannot be stressed enough! Even ideas that seem unfocused, irrelevant, overdone, or eccentric can get a conversation going. Avoid any criticism that is not constructive. Use statements that build upon other’s ideas istead of tearing them down. Help your team understand that differences in opinion are encouraged and that your brainstorming sessions are judgment-free zones.
Somewhere to Write
Fifth, don’t miss a single idea by forgetting to write it down. Nothing can replace a good old fashion whiteboard. Webs, diagrams, lists, and keywords displayed in front of the team can help everyone visualize the ideas and plans being discussed, as a result. One study confirmed that 65 percent of the population are visual learners. Make sure each team member not only has their own notebook to write on but that there is a visual for the group to look at as a whole.
Finally, it may be hard to come up with original ideas in the same conference room you brainstorm in each week. Try relocating to a new location if your brainstorming sessions start to become stale or awkward. Steve Jobs was known for his walking meetings and Mark Zuckerberg has also been seen holding meetings on foot. Moreover, a Stanford study found that across the board, creativity levels were higher for those walking compared to those sitting. Incorporating variety when needed can jumpstart the way your team members problem solve.
Brainstorming can be your employees’ favorite time of the day and the birthplace of innovation. In conclusion, being open to new ideas and varying perspectives will greatly improve virtually any aspect of your company as a whole. Don’t forget about these six crucial features of a successful brainstorming session next time you get ready to crank out new ideas.