How to organize successful brainstorm sessions
Although it was invented in 1939 by Alex Osborn, an American advertising manager, brainstorming is still relevant and a commonly used method to stimulate creativity. Brainstorming is a powerful creative technique to produce more and better ideas. It’s based on the concept that two heads (or three, or four, or more) are better than one.
Bring great minds together
Brainstorming consists in bringing together a group of motivated employees, representatives of different business lines, so that they collectively produce as many new ideas as possible on a given theme. However, it requires more preparation than a traditional meeting to stimulate the group's creativity. A successful brainstorm session cannot be improvised or you will waste time in a totally unproductive meeting.
Keep it simple
How to prepare for a brainstorm? Analyze the subject and define your problem into one simple question. A basic rule: the simpler the question, the easier those creative ideas will erupt. Do you want to address several aspects of this subject? It’s better to separate them into different brainstorm sessions.
Stick(y notes) with ideas
Common issue: you are in a brainstorm session and you have an idea. But, somebody else is talking, so you have to wait, and wait, and keep waiting…. Eventually, you let go of your ideas, or worse, you forget them. The simple fact that you have to wait to bring your ideas to the table, puts a stop to generating more and better ideas. How to prevent this? The good old sticky note. Immediately, write down any idea you have, one per note. This gives you space to continue coming up with more brilliant ideas. Sticky notes can be collected and made visible, which again helps others generate more ideas.
Three’s a crowd
You could also divide the group into smaller groups or individuals. It’s not mandatory to brainstorm with the whole group all the time. In fact, a lot more and more various ideas will be generated if a large group is separated into duos or individuals. This way, you combine the fast and dynamic group brainstorm with the thoughtful solo brainstorm. The same applies here: make ideas visible for everybody, so other participants can piggyback on them.
Equip your room
A brainstorm session can be held in any kind of room: from a traditional meeting room to a trendy workspace. Above all, it should be a place that stimulates creativity. Barriers such as tables and chairs are better put aside, so that real interaction becomes possible. A whiteboard wall –to write on, make drawings, display documents or stick notes – can already work wonders. And flipcharts or other mobile boards are also of great assistance.
Like we’ve said before – but it might be the most important tip for a successful brainstorm session – make ideas visible! Discover in this video how you can easily create a functional workspace to allow the free flow of creativity.