Brainstorming can be a great way to get started coming up with new ideas
Most jobs require a certain level of creativity. Whether you’re managing a team of communications and marketing pros or working with a group of technical experts, brainstorming can be a critical part of developing any project. From bouncing ideas off each other at the beginning of a new project to thinking about all the ways you can promote your end product, brainstorming is a great way to help creativity flow. Here are some of the things that could help you and your team to brainstorm more effectively and get the most out of any creative session.
Create a Non-Judgmental Space
The person leading a brainstorming session should make it clear from the outset that every idea is welcome, and any bullying or negativity will not be tolerated. This is crucial if you want people to feel they can share their ideas openly. This approach is likely to maximize the number of ideas people are willing to put forward, helping to generate even more creativity and promote bonding within teams.
In any communications to the team before the brainstorming starts, make sure you reiterate that it will be a non-judgmental space. This will also help to reassure any team members who may feel anxious or worried beforehand.
Use Tools to Help
Many tools can help you and your team to get the most out of brainstorming. Some of the tools available will allow people to write their ideas down online in a shared space, saving time and creating a quieter alternative to verbal conversation.
Brainstorming tools are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace and are used by facilitators and consultants on a regular basis to make creative sessions more interesting and productive.
Using a variety of tools to encourage effective brainstorming could also help you and your team to stay more organized. It can be easier to follow up afterward, and some tools will enable all team members to see the content online indefinitely.
Give Enough Notice
While some managers like to put their staff on the spot and ask them for quick-fire ideas, giving notice ahead of a brainstorming session can make it much more productive and effective. Running a brainstorming session should be a tactic used when there is a large project or campaign coming up that requires collective creativity and input.
Depending on the size of the project, give your team members several days or weeks’ notice. Outline what the session will cover, what you expect from them as individuals, and what you aim to achieve collectively by the end of it. Supplying your team with these important details ahead of time will allow them to prepare in advance, speak with other people if needed, and conduct some desktop research to bring even more knowledge and ideas to the table.
Follow Up Afterwards
Even if you give people weeks to prepare for the session, the time spent brainstorming together is likely to generate another round of creativity. New ideas and suggestions are likely to come to mind afterward, which makes follow-up an important part of any effective brainstorming session.
Within a couple of days of holding the brainstorming session, follow up with the team with a summary of what was discussed, as well as the ideas that came out of the session and any actions that were agreed. Invite team members to send further ideas if they wish or expand on anything they shared during the session.
One of the challenges with any brainstorming session is trying to keep everyone focused. However, staying solely focused on one thing could limit creativity. It’s important to strike a balance and prevent team members from going off track, which could lead to wasted time and resources.
Take time to introduce the session at the start and reflect on exactly what you are there to achieve. Make sure that people understand the topic being discussed and what is expected of them. Allow people to ask questions at the beginning of the session or at any point throughout.
Do Something Differently
Doing something differently can inspire creativity and help people to come up with fresh ideas. This could mean going into a different space, particularly if there is an office or room available that is tailored for team working. Some shared spaces will allow teams to use whiteboards and other tools to work together and share ideas.
Another popular way to run the session differently is to hire somebody external to facilitate it. Not only will this bring new ideas from the external facilitator, but it will help to make things feel different for the whole team.
Give Everybody an Opportunity to Speak
In a room full of people, there is a risk that the loudest people will overpower the conversation, leaving many unspoken ideas by the end of the session. Allowing everybody the opportunity to communicate their ideas and thoughts is important. Offer people the option of writing their ideas down on paper or submitting them via an online chat function.
Take time to reassess the room throughout the session, ask whether people have any questions, and allow people to share their opinions and ideas as they arise.
Brainstorming with your team can help to create fantastic campaigns, projects, and other products. Many things can help make a creative session more effective – from handy tools to a focus on a welcoming and non-judgmental space.
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