When it comes to developing ideas and solving problems, two heads are definitely better than one. And if you get lots of team members involved to share their ideas, it can help even more! As you might have guessed, we’ve done a few brainstorming sessions in our time. Here are our top six brainstorming techniques to keep your group discussion focussed and the good ideas flowing.
Don’t start your group brainstorming session with a blank piece of paper. Share the topic and purpose of your meeting with the team in advance. This will give them time to do a bit of their own research or some individual brainstorming of ideas.
Adequate preparation will make sure your session is productive and efficient. You might consider asking your crew to bring their pre-ideas on a Post-it™ and share them as a starting point to the session.
This does two things: it allows people to be heard and participate early on but it also helps get the easy and obvious ideas out of the way straight up. The group is then free to concentrate on some genuinely innovative stuff.
Choose your participants wisely! Assemble a diverse group of people with different experiences and disciplines. This helps shake up the ideas, broaden the creative thinking and encourage different perspectives in the room. When people are faced with a different point of view, it can help spark different types of thinking.
Don’t get bogged down by constraints and minute details of the first ideas you come up with. Set a time limit and generate as many ideas as possible with no judgement.
Start by going for quantity over quality. Jot them all down quickly, then come back to them later for discussion. That’s when you can start filtering.
Often when solving a problem, we look to see how others in our own industry have done it. Problem is, that won’t help you come up with anything new.
Instead, try drawing inspiration from other types of industries and explore their innovative tactics. Perhaps there’s a way their solutions can be appropriated to your problem? At the very least it will help send your thinking in a new direction.
Imposing an arbitrary roadblock helps you remove some of the ‘too obvious’ solutions. A good one to start with is the what if game. Pose a what if question and see what sort of new thinking this generates. For example, what if you were designing for a non-english speaking audience?
Be bold! Don’t kill ideas immediately with restrictions and ‘that’s unrealistic’ judgement getting in the way. Start with over the top and then pull back.
If you let outlandish ideas run for a little bit, you’ll be surprised at what can happen. You’ll be able to look at what makes the idea great and swap out the unrealistic elements for things that are more achievable. Or at the very least the impossible ideas lead to further discussion and spark something else to consider.
Having a braindrought? We can make the ideas rain!