Culture | Strategy

Better Brainstorming Techniques

What is brainstorming? Simply put, brainstorming is an informal approach to problem solving and critical thinking.  It fosters an open and accepting environment that will generate creative ideas and solutions.  However, it is possible to hold wildly unsuccessful brainstorming sessions… and waste a lot of time.  To avoid this, we have provided you with 6 easy tips to follow in order to craft more original ideas:


  • Keep Groups Small and Diverse

It is best to keep brainstorming groups under 10 people.  A large group will inhibit soft spoken individuals from participating, which keeps good ideas from being shared and produces more stale, repetitive ideas.  The smaller the group, the better chance everyone has to be heard!

On a related note, don’t be afraid to spend time brainstorming before meeting with your group.  In fact, studies show that brainstorming independently generates more novel ideas, and helps inhibit the tendency to feed off of or blindly agree with others. Here are some great apps we found that might aid your independent brainstorming:

  • Idea Sketch – This app allows one to create mind maps concept maps, and flowcharts to generate new ideas and illustrate new concepts.
  • Popplet – This app gives the users- both professional and in the classroom- the ability to capture ideas, sort them visually, and collaborate with others in the real world.  
  • Mind Node – This app helps you brainstorm with a tap of a figure, organize different nodes with various colors and fonts, and share interactive documents publicly.

  • Switch it Up

It is essential to switch up the groups each time you brainstorm.  If you constantly share ideas with the same group of people, the outcome will begin to homogenize over time.  Surround yourself with diverse individuals with various backgrounds and skill sets; this  will enhance creativity and encourage new perspectives.


  • Keep Meetings Short and Sweet

Short stand-up meetings are surprisingly great!  They sure beat long, drawn out meetings in an office, anyway.  Stand-up meetings, or a cool alternative like a walking meeting through the city or a park, can keep individuals engaged, active, and thinking on their feet. Literally.

In addition, meetings should be kept to a 22 minute limit because ideas will begin to become repetitive – and no one likes long drawn out meetings anyway.  This tight time limit also allows individuals to produce the most outcome under the threat of a deadline.


  • Avoid Overthinking

Don’t be afraid to write your idea down and SHARE it!  It’s always good to think about the perfect idea or solution.  However, overthinking an idea can limit your creative outlook.  After all, the point of brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as you can no matter how “ridiculous” they may sound.  This method of freely proposing thoughts and ideas can help open the floor for discussion, often combing one or more ideas to finalize the best solution.  The key point is: Don’t be afraid to let your creative thoughts gets messy!

 


  • Guide Discussion

We all know that a loosely guided discussion will not get you from point A to point B.  Instead, you need to assign one person to guide the group while providing their own input.

If you are guiding the discussion focus on encouraging optimal participation among the group.  To do this, make sure you give the group notice before the meeting on what will be discussed.  This will allow them to think independently before joining together as a group.   Lastly, list as many ideas as you can and guide the group by asking questions that will allow them to think from various perspectives.  This will further stimulate discussion and allow individuals to approach the problem from multiple directions.


  • Eliminate and Vote

Once you have your list, it’s time to eliminate and vote on the best possible solution.  To do this you must have your list you generated earlier.  In my opinion, it is best to do this during a separate meeting time to allow the group to digest and/or reconsider some of the ideas listed.  Once you regroup, take a look at the list and discuss!!! To help make the process easier use the SWOT method.  List all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each possible solution.  This will help provide a better understanding of each idea, while making it easier to separate the good ideas from the bad!

 


GO START BRAINSTORMING.

Brainstorms are not the only way to generate ideas, but they’re a great way to start! Remember to stay open-minded and share, share, share!

Don’t waste time – get started by identifying the problem, creating a plan, and optimizing your chances at success. And don’t forget that Ingenex Digital Marketing can help you market your brilliant ideas! We are experts in content marketing, web design, paid media, and so much more.  Don’t hesitate to shoot us a line; we’ll illuminate all your company has to offer.

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