Brainstorming is one of the best and most effective ways to find a solution to a certain issue. You get a bunch of creative people in one room and start the whole process. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it, well there is a bit more to it. In order to get the best results, it is imperative that you increase the overall productivity of your brainstorming session, and here are some tips on how you can manage just that.
Using the right tools
Yes, even brainstorming requires the right tools. Depending on your team’s preferences, there are a lot of options available. One of the most productive is definitely a quality pinboard where you can put on and take off ideas and see what fits with which interpretation. This an efficient way of seeing your thought manifested in front of you, but it is also very useful to be able to shuffle ideas around just by changing the order of Post-Its on the pinboard. This strategy works for various different work profiles and can significantly increase your brainstorming productivity. A whiteboard is also a good option, but it requires a lot of writing and erasing and then writing the same thing over and over again, in that way a pinboard is far superior. And, finally, you can always go the digital way of simply projecting ideas and doing all the modifications on the computer, and while it is a more technologically advanced option it can, at times be overwhelming and difficult to follow for the team members.
Know when to take a break
A well-placed break is essential for the productivity of a brainstorming session. And it is up to the person leading the session to decide when that break should take place. One of the options is when you hit a wall and you can’t seem to get passed a certain problem. In this case, it is better to step back, have something to eat, drink, stretch your collective legs and take another swing at it later on. Because if you keep on doing the same thing over and over again without any actual results it can lead to frustration and that will not get you any closer to the actual solution. So, remember to monitor the state all the team members are in as well as the progress you are making in order to decide when is the ideal time to take a break. With Brainstorming sessions, a pre-set break timetable will not do as you don’t know when exactly things might pick up and you are able to get to the solution.
Listen to all of the ideas
Some ideas are better than others, this is not disputable, but at the same time we tend to overlook the ones that are not our favorite, and this is a mistake when it comes to brainstorming. It is far more important that you take all ideas into account and by combining several different ones you can get to the best possible solution. So even an idea that doesn’t seem that important can be an essential part of an even bigger solution, and this is why you shouldn’t be prejudiced about these things and you should definitely give a chance to each team member to provide input and elaborate on it. If you shut down someone’s idea immediately after they have suggested it can have a negative effect on that person’s self-esteem and eventually lead to them not wanting to share anything making them unproductive during your brainstorming session. This is why keeping an open mind is so important. The only way to know that an idea that you have is a sure thing is by putting it in action when it actually becomes tangible and concrete and then and only then can it be successful.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into running a successful brainstorming session. And most of it depends on the person who is running it. You have to make sure that you have the right tools and props at your disposal, not to mention a steady supply of coffee at all ties. Don’t forget to take regular breaks but make sure that they are well-timed so that they don’t disrupt the focus and the flow of the session. Finally, don’t dismiss any idea before working it over properly, some things take time to shine and by being open-minded you will encourage your team members to provide even more suggestions.
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