Let’s be honest, no matter how creative and original you are, you can hardly compete with the collective intelligence of a team of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, like yours. That’s why it’s a good idea to hold brainstorming sessions when something is important enough to involve your closest circle of collaborators. Whether it’s an advertising campaign for your startup or a solution to that last minute problem that you had no clue about, good brainstorming can save your day. But for this we need to follow some rules, some tips we offer you so your meetings can be as productive as possible. Here we go!
· Identify your objective: It might seem obvious but it’s fundamental for all those attending the brainstorming meeting to have a clear idea of what the purpose of the session is. Try to spell it out in one sentence and as simple as possible, “The name of our product”, or “how to improve the newsletter”, are some good examples.
· Set small achievable goals: It is important that a brainstorming session follows a certain order and pursues a number of small achievable goals: setting a limit to the number of suggestions is a good first step. Remember to jot down every idea, no matter how outlandish it may seem at first.
· Create a relaxed and fun environment: Maybe first thing Monday morning isn’t the best time to hold a brainstorming meeting. In order for the ideas to slow easily it’s necessary for your team to be relaxed and in a good mood. How about putting on some music to start the meeting? And why not get some better lighting for the room? Anything that makes you feel comfortable will help you to become more inspired.
· Use a white board: Scribble, draw, erase, doodle, write… graphic representation of your ideas are extremely important as they will help you to better visualize what you want to say. Of course, a bad drawing could also bring out a good chuckle, and that’s not a bad thing!
· Take an idea to its logical conclusion: What at first seemed like an uninspired contribution may end up becoming the greatest idea of the day. Don’t dismiss any idea without first giving it the opportunity to be completely explored. Perhaps the original concept wasn’t the best, but as it unfolds you might just find a brilliant solution to an overwhelming problem.
· Respect turn-taking: It’s not uncommon for people to get worked up in a meeting and people start mixing and communicating with one another, pitching in more and more ideas and all of them at once. Be careful! You may end up losing valuable contributions and run the risk of losing control of the session. Remember, one idea at a time.
· Extra tip: Whenever you can, get out of the office! Your usually place of work won’t help to think ‘outside the box’. Why not go outdoors with a notebook and see what happens?