Uncategorized Nov 04, 2011

Brainstorming Made Better

You don’t have to be in a creative industry to brainstorm. Everyone does it. We’ve all been in a meeting where someone says “why don’t we do a quick brainstorm?” and then opens the floor up for ideas. The trouble with this type of brainstorming is that it usually leads to really bad ideas. Why? Because no one’s had time to prepare so people just end up saying whatever pops into their heads.

A brain, largely un-stormy.

I wish I knew how to stop these impromptu brainstorms from happening, but I don’t. However, I can tell you how to have a good brainstorming session.

Follow the leader. Every brainstorm needs a leader. The leader keeps the group focused, writes down all the ideas (good and bad) and encourages a positive atmosphere. Ideally, the leader shouldn’t be your boss. Bosses have a tendency to make people feel uncomfortable so they’re less likely to share ideas.

Bring Something to the Table. Think about the project before you meet with the rest of the team. Then, jot down a few rough ideas and bring them with you to discuss.

Push Past the First Idea. Often, the first idea is what everyone would think of. It’s up to your team to push beyond the clichés and come up with an original idea. This may mean you have to go through hundreds of ideas to get a good one, but once you get there, it’s worth it.

Share the Spotlight. Brainstorming is supposed to be a group process. The project suffers if the only ideas you’re interested in are your own. Remember, it’s ok to let someone else come up with a good idea. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.

Be Nice. The easiest way to kill a brainstorming session is with negativity. Sure, there will be ideas that sound so stupid, you’ll look at people and wonder if they were dropped on their heads multiple times as a child. You can think it, just don’t ever say it.

The next time your team decides to brainstorm, try these tips out. You’re sure to get better ideas as a result.
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