Top recommendations for more productive brainstorming sessions

| October 28, 2019
Top Recommendations for More Productive Brainstorming Sessions

The more people get involved in a brainstorming session, the more productive it will be. In other words – the more, the merrier. However, just because there is enough brainpower in the room doesn’t mean the ensuing brainstorm will generate a flood of amazing ideas. After all, some brainstorming sessions turn out to be a success later on, while some don’t. So, can you make sure that yours will be a hit? Here are the top five recommendations for more productive brainstorming sessions:

The right guide

If someone were to ask you what is the most impactful thing you’ve ever done, you’ll likely respond with a million things, all of which weren’t the right answer, as you would later realize. However, if that someone asked a more specific question, you’ll likely tell a better story. The same applies to creative brainstorming sessions. You require boundaries to inspire award-winning mindsets.

For instance, you can introduce a hypothesis or build a storyboard with moments and personas to play around with. The point is to have a facilitator of the brainstorming session who isn’t directly involved with the project in question. Someone who can stimulate the attendees to get the most out of the session, but whose understanding and insights of the project’s objective won’t interfere with the creative process. In essence, someone who can assist with idea collection and evaluation.

Top Recommendations for More Productive Brainstorming Sessions

The right equipment

Just like for any other work activity, having adequate tools for your brainstorming session is crucial if you want it to be successful. In other words, you need to be prepared for your brainstorming session. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a situation where everyone is waiting for you to refill that dried-out marker.

Most experts recommend using a mobile whiteboard when it comes to collecting ideas. Whiteboards enable you to “entrap” ideas fast as they flow from the session’s attendees in a way that doesn’t prefer any particular structure, and which is highly visible to everyone in the room. Along with a whiteboard, you’ll probably need some basic supplies such as ink pens, erasers, pencils, scissors, staplers, and whiteboard markers.

Top Recommendations for More Productive Brainstorming Sessions

The right environment

Most of us think about brainstorming sessions in terms of being boring, fear-inspiring and painfully long. More often than not, even brainstorming facilitators wish they were doing something else. Even worse, people get called out, put on the spot, and attendees start throwing out accusations. Brainstorming sessions are often perceived as boring since they’re repetitive and systematic.

If you wish to conduct a productive brainstorming session, it’s of the utmost importance that the environment (or atmosphere) is relaxed, fun, positive, and judgment-free. That way, the attendees won’t hesitate to share their ideas out of fear of being ridiculed by their peers.

The right moves

Nature builds our brains for one purpose only – to control the body’s movements in complex physical environments. Even though the days of our ancestors using their brains and bodies to hunt are long gone, moving during your brainstorming session can get the attendees’ blood pumping and stimulate new ideas. There are so many mental benefits of moving and exercising, and rather than making everyone sit down the entire time, ask everyone to stand up and get them to think on their feet, so to speak.

Or, you can ask everyone at random to get up or switch their seats as though you were playing a game. Sometimes, all it takes is to have a new vantage point to make you view things from a different perspective, and come up with innovative ideas.

The right direction

In the film Twelve Angry Men, the jury reaches a verdict by having more and more jurors feel an increased pressure to change their minds, question their ethics, thoughts, and prejudices. This effect is named groupthink. Groupthink usually happens with much less strain than a murder trial – and can lower the brainstorming session’s productivity. Harvard Business Review suggests that you should give everyone at the meeting a clear role.

For instance, the facilitator/guide should manage the dialogue, while the client gets the final say in the creative process. The roles should be known before the session in order to set clear expectations. You can also empower “passionate champions” within your team to run with one of the ideas, for the simple reason that those people will be most invested in an idea, and hence put more effort into its execution.

Brainstorming sessions are all about using the collective brainpower of your attendees to resolve issues and create new ideas, not slowing down your workers. If your employees recognize that their contributions won’t go to waste, they’ll provide an unparalleled amount of innovation.