Brainstorming can either be fruitful or completely useless. The 5 brainstorming tips below will make sure you get the most out of your creativity when brainstorming new ideas.
Identify Your Goals
It is always a good idea to start your brainstorming with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Write it down- even if in your head you are familiar with your ideas, writing it down will give a new perspective and clearer vision. You could use the SMART goals:
Using this approach will make sure your brainstorming isn’t a waste of time!
Set a Time Limit
Like with a lot of things, setting a time limit will help. It will make sure you don’t overdo yourself and start becoming sloppy. This will also encourage you to stay on track with the allotted time frame, too.
How long you should give yourself will all depend on the size of the project. Remember, it is easy to burn yourself out so there is no harm in spreading it over several days, doing a certain category a day. This will make it seem like less of a chore too and overall get more done in the long run. You could even get a team together to do a certain piece each if it allows, the more people, the quicker it will get done!
Have sketch pads, whiteboards and a lot of paper at the ready! You will be doing a lot of visual brainstorming! Visuals are one of the best ways to keep note of everything, otherwise, you will never remember it all.
Write down or sketch every idea briefly, even if you think it may be a bad idea at the time, it may slot in somewhere along the line. Don’t be sucked into the misconception that all brainstorming has to be written, you can cut things out and make a scrapbook, draw, scribble… anything that works for you and will help you to remember. Let your creative juices flow!
This one is a fun one to do! In rapid ideation, everyone will write down as many ideas-good or bad- as they can in a set amount of time. When the time is up you discuss and critique each idea without dismissing any. Doing this process will allow you to avoid the common scenario where an idea is shot down before it has time to develop, it also allows everyone to have a say with no one being left out thinking their idea is silly. The set time is the important factor in this idea, keep a sense of urgency going; so make sure you have a strict time limit, and remember to keep it friendly and fun!
The Step Ladder Technique
This technique is a great way for everyone to share their ideas, albeit a bit complicated.
Instructions: one person suggests a brainstorming topic and everyone leaves the room except for two people. Those two brainstorm ideas for a few minutes and then invite the third person in. The third person then shares their ideas before the other two tell them theirs. People return to the room one by one, repeating the process of firstly sharing their ideas, then discussing previously brainstormed ideas. This goes on until all people return to the room. While outside of the room, people cannot discuss their ideas.
Productive group brainstorming can be a great team building exercise or extremely frustrating, the key is to make sure everyone leaves feeling listened to and accomplished, using the above techniques can help make this happen!