Brainstorming is a powerful tool; with the right discipline and guidance, you can capture fresh perspectives, generate new ideas and gain additional clarity that impacts larger, strategic decisions. Also, as a brainstorm participant, you have the opportunity to share creative thinking and explore new ways of doing, making or using something. How fun! Whether you're looking for a new idea, or simply need to flesh out an existing one, effective brainstorming can help.
Here are 5 steps that can help get the creative juices flowing while making your brainstorm session more productive:
Identify a Leader:
All good brainstorms have a clear leader to guide discussion and capture ideas. Whether you have formal brainstorm facilitator training, or not, helping participants understand where you're starting and where you need to end can help keep the conversation on track.
Start With a Clear Question:
Identifying a key question or problem to be solved can help direct the team's thinking and focus creativity. While conversation can deviate - and should in order to uncover new ideas - having a clear question to return to will keep the discussion on track.
Get Everything on the Table:
It's helpful for those around the table to share relevant business/technical/industry knowledge that might be useful in addressing or solving the problem. This helps participants get engaged by sharing their experience and opinions from the onset of your brainstorm.
Close the Gap:
Work with one another to identify any critical knowledge gaps. Explore new business or technology approaches that may change the underlying paradigms of the topic at hand. Looking for the holes, or the "what if's" can take you in new directions, and prevent stagnant thinking.
There's no such thing as a bad idea. Speak up, and help draw ideas from one another (especially the quiet ones). Many times, cross-industry perspectives can be the most innovative. Always respect one another's expertise and stay engaged.
By following these tips, you are well on your way to delivering more innovative thinking that's not only better aligned with the strategic goals of your client, but also more actionable and impactful.
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