Few things make us happier than seeing creativity and innovation in the workplace, especially in corporate settings! And one of the best places to see that happening is in brainstorming sessions. Whether it’s a monthly meeting or the launch of a new campaign, bringing your team together to come up with new ideas for the company is exciting!
The thing about brainstorming, though, is that excitement can also cause meetings to go off the rails pretty quickly in terms of organization and productivity.
So what’s a leader to do? Not to worry — we’ve got some tips that will help keep your next brainstorming session on track!
1. Start the brainstorming before the meeting.
One of the issues with getting everyone together for a brainstorming session is the human tendency to build off of one another. Oftentimes, the person who is most comfortable with the situation will offer an idea, and the rest of the room builds off of it. While this is productive to an extent and a good exercise in teamwork, it also runs the risk of closing off the session to other ideas.
Instead, try presenting your meeting’s brainstorming objective before you get together, and ask for participants to come up with ideas ahead of time. This will give you truly original starting points to work from.
2. Encourage variety, quantity, and even “silly” ideas.
Focusing too hard on finding the perfect solution to a problem can quickly stop your brainstorming progress in its tracks. One of the best ways to find truly exciting, practical ideas is to encourage your team to be bold and unafraid in their suggestions, and to come up with as many ideas as possible in the first portion of your session.
This isn’t a waste of time, we promise! What you’ll find is that sometimes even the silliest idea can spark inspiration in someone else — inspiration that very well may lead to the perfect solution you were hoping for, to begin with.
3. Reign the creativity in by adding structure.
Once your team has run wild with their ideas, and their energy seems to have run its course, it’s time to get organized. Ranking and categorizing ideas based on criteria like feasibility, expense, risk, etc. will help you take a look at the bigger picture of your brainstorming session so that you filter them down to solid, actionable plans.
Especially in this portion of your session, it’s essential to approach these ideas with thoughtful, collaborative curiosity, as opposed to judgment. Remember: You encouraged everyone to be bold, brave, and even silly in their suggestions, so as you narrow down the best solutions, make sure to be appreciative of any and all input.
Curiosity won’t kill creativity!
Brainstorming is a topic that we could talk about for days, so these tips are certainly only the tip of the iceberg… but they all support one common theme:
Approaching problems, collaborators, and solutions with curiosity is the best way to foster trust and inspiration when you’re working with people toward a common goal. And we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!