In our agency, brainstorming helps us be innovative on demand. During years of experience, we have learned that a brainstorming can also quickly be a waste of time discussing random ideas. To generate great ideas, our key of succes is to brainstorm effectively.
- Invite fresh voices to participate for the brainstorming
When we have a brief, we generally enlarge our creative team for the duration of a brainstorming, by inviting other collegues to participate. Anybody might have good, valuable ideas: accounting people, HR, supervisors etc. Research suggests adding new team members with current ones improves the quality of ideas. Indeed, fresh voices let us avoid clichees or groupthink.
Yet, we remain selectives: the cable guy is never invited!
- Give structure to the group brainstorming
Rather than holding a brainstorming session with the whole group, we create a cross-functional sub-groups of people to benefit of diverse viewpoints and skills.
- Find word associations
Suppose we want to host an event for our customers. We open a dictionary, we flip to an arbitrary page, and we see the word “moon.” This reminds us of the sky, the summer nights, the fresh air, wich inspire us a nicce, beautiful happening organized outside, in the evening so on. And we keep up with new words coming up logically and inspirationnally.
- Limit the problem
Limit the scope of the brainstorming. Be certain the problem is not multiple or, if it is, brainstorm only part at a time. Define and secure agreement on all words. Ask if the proposition is understood, clear up any question. Before brainstorming the problem the group may hold a brainstorming session to determine the wording of the problem. A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
- Encourage the divergent thinking
For an added twist, we ask partners in brainstorming to switch ideas. Not only this exercise forces the team members to challenge their own assumptions, it also puts them into problem-solving mode.
And write down every single idea! There are no bad ideas, but just untold!