A great idea can come from anywhere. But how do you harness the creative energy of a room full of people from diverse backgrounds and departments?
- Keep it small. Consider limiting your brainstorming session to no more than four people. Large groups can be unwieldy and intimidating, while smaller groups yield more spontaneous thinking. If you must work with a larger group, break out into smaller, more manageable teams.
- There is no bad idea. The purpose of brainstorming is to think beyond the obvious. Creativity is your mind at play. It’s OK to break the rules of process, grammar or brand guidelines in a brainstorming session. Any idea is on the table at this stage. Maintain a positive flow of energy in the room knowing a single word can trigger a chain reaction of creative solutions.
- Stay focused on the big idea. Avoid the temptation to begin implementation too early. A rock-solid strategic idea can be the foundation to multiple layers of execution. Bake the cake first; leave the icing for later.
- You can’t force an idea. Periods of silence are common in brainstorming sessions. There is no obligation to talk if you don’t have an immediate idea. Remember, it’s called brainstorming not mouthstorming. It’s okay to sit in quiet thought as your creative juices simmer. Creative problem solving takes time to develop. Your best idea might be 24 hours away. Relax and allow your ideas to blossom in their own time.
- Free your mind. Inspired thinking requires focus and can be difficult within the confines of your office. If your company doesn’t have a brainstorming room, try an off-campus location such as a coffee shop with comfortable furniture or a picnic table in a peaceful park setting to free you of interruptions and distractions.
- You are a genius. Creative thinking isn’t the sole domain of the creative department. Brainstorming is problem solving and you can do it. Every one of us exercises some form of problem solving in our own lives. If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to a brainstorming session, get in the game. Unleash your own unique perspective and start throwing out some great ideas.
Do you have any tips for a successful brainstorming session? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.