Brainstorming Done Right

Most creative group sessions to brainstorm new ideas are ineffective: The usual output is a curious mix of circular reasoning, lack of imagination, and rehashed pet projects. 

To avoid wasting your own precious time and other people’s limited energy, stick to the following four best practices for your next brainstorm:

  1. State the subject with clarity at the beginning. The two most powerful questions to get creative juices flowing are:
    • How can we … while at the same time … (Example: How can we improve client satisfaction, while at the same time shift our resources away from handling customer complaints?)
    • How can we … to provide … (Example: How can we improve our project execution speed to provide us with first mover advantage in the market?)
  2. Give all participants time to think: Let them generate ideas individually and in silence for at least ten minutes.
  3. Make abundant use of the Magic Question For Thinking Big (MQFTB): What’s even better than this?
  4. Close the session with a commitment for next steps:
    • Provide a summary of the ideas.
    • Describe a process to select the best ideas.
    • Give clarity about any further expected involvement of participants.

The most creative idea you can have, is to refuse to be bogged down by pitiful brainstorm sessions ….

photo credit: iStockPhoto/ingret

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