Top 5 Tips | For Team Brainstorming

 

Steve Jobs’ legacy leaves most of us craving for our own workplaces to be more innovative; our teams more creative and our contribution to it all more impactful.

So what do we have to do? Generate ideas and solve problems. And how do we do that? Brainstorming of course.

Brainstorming sessions however, remain for many a mythical notion that feels out of our own realm of capability, better left to the lucky few who can sit round in a circle, chew the fat for a few minutes and spur the creation of a personal computer or ipod. We brainstorm every day at Hidden Door HQ as we strive to meet clients briefs in imaginative / realistic ways, and to be totally honest we have varying degrees of success. Why is this?

It is widely agreed that traditional brainstorming is flawed (fear of being judged, lack of preparation, limited creative minds etc etc), yet this doesn’t have to be the case.  In fact, if done properly it can be the perfect (free) team building activity.

Below are 5 quick tips to ponder. Read on, make notes and perhaps the next time your boss orders you into a meeting room for a ‘quick brainstorming sesh’, rather than feel petrified with eyes darting to the fire escape, you may be a little excited to delve into the right side of your grey matter…

1. Be Prepared

Define the goal. What’s the problem you want to solve? Give everyone at least 24 hours notice beforehand so that they can think individually and sleep on it. Perhaps send them a ‘challenge’ to come up with three new ideas. Stimulate their creativity with some quotes that encourage lateral thinking and different perspectives.

2. Create the right surroundings

Get out of your usual office space, relax and create stimulus by being outside. You could even try a walking brainstorm session. Run your sessions first thing in the morning when you’re fresh, energised and your brains are fired, not fried. Leave your mobiles on your desk and remove unnecessary distractions.

3. Manage the session properly!

Begin the session by allowing everyone to share their ideas, and then begin to group them together. Take notes. Then build on the views raised and expand to generate further discussion. Then dissect the ideas, modify them and ask ‘why?’. Finally, critique the ideas and allow immediate feedback and comments to be made.

4. Map the session

Draw a big mind map on the board or notepad, and document the mental splurge to help people visualize and start drawing ideas together. Don’t forget to create a library of all the ideas raised. What may not seem relevant today maybe tomorrow’s ipod.

5. Encourage BIG ideas

To ensure these sessions are as productive as possible, each team member should go in with open minds and BIG ideas. This is actually done outside of work – read more, travel, expand your horizons, think differently, be inspired and dream. Taking what you learn outside of the office into these sessions can make all the difference.

Let us know how you get on, and good luck for your next brainstorming session!