8 Tips to Brainstorming Session Effectiveness
Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparks … never a single flash of insight.
– Ken Sawyer
Do you have a business problem that is nagging and tough to solve? Have you tried a brainstorming session with your team to create new solution ideas? Brainstorming is a great way to jumpstart your team’s creative collaboration.
There are 4 general rules you should employ, if you are planning a brainstorming session:
Focus on quantity
This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.
In brainstorming, criticism of ideas generated should be put ‘on hold’. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, reserving criticism for a later ‘critical stage’ of the process..
Welcome unusual ideas
To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are welcomed. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions.
Combine and improve ideas
Good ideas may be combined to form a single better good idea, as suggested by the slogan “1+1=3″.
Here are 8 tips we use with clients when we run brainstorming workshops as facilitators:
Think and rethink the problem
Brainstorming on the wrong problem will really ruin your day. We usually spend our first session brainstorming the problem definition.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
These sessions take considerable thought and planning to yield good results. As our general rule, the more you put into preparation, the more the session will yield.
Use a facilitator
A facilitator is always a good idea … and ensure the group has a leader.
Take notes as you go
Remember to defer judgment. Just notes on what was said.
Choose a group
Group of diverse people, not more than 7-8. The more diverse thinking and skill base the better.
Never stop at eureka. We believe several iterative sessions is the best approach.
Elaborate on session improvement ideas … at end of each session.
Define threats to ideas to widen the thinking.
Creative collaboration is the best way to speed up the gathering of new ideas and gets your entire team as owners of the process. The best way to kickstart creative collaboration is with several sessions of effective brainstorming. Remember, like anything else you are learning, there is no substitute for practical experience.
Have a tip to share from your experience? Maybe a comment or a question?
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your business innovation process and efforts. Lessons are all around you. In some cases, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. Or collaborating with you. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy improving your creativity, innovation and ideas?
Do you have a lesson about making your creativity better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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