Why brainstorm? Surely it would be more efficient for a decision-maker to identify a course of action and just stick to it? Wrong. In most cases, the individual closest to a problem isn’t best placed to reach the most effective solution. Too much involvement can actually be a hinderance in such situations.
Here we take a look at the benefits of brainstorming; how to do it effectively and how to reap the rewards.
A good brainstorm needs to be planned. Schedule it well in advance in order to get the most from the session. When it comes to brainstorming, time management is as important as for any other meeting. Despite the common misconception that brainstorms should be ad-hoc or unplanned – giving people sufficient time to prepare allows for a far more effective outcome.
It’s vital to identify the particular problem that you wish to solve, Vague goals are never a good idea. You should also map out the objectives of any anticipated solution. Circulating these ahead of the brainstorm, along with any necessary background information or research, will allow all participants to hit the ground running.
It’s proven that people think more creatively when working alone. Solo working allows people to get their head around the subject matter fully, and get thoughts and ideas down. Along with group discussion, comes distraction and interruption, and it’s best for your team to have done their homework prior to embarking on their group brainstorm. Group dynamics should also be considered. More dominant personalities tend to talk more in a collaborative setting. Therefore, by getting individuals to brainstorm separately, the initial ideas of each member can be considered.
There are so many benefits to group brainstorming, but allowing personal ideation beforehand allows for the advantages of both.
SHAKE IT UP
Taking people out of their comfort zone fosters creativity and productivity. Holding a meeting in an unfamiliar space can get the creative juices flowing, and encourage the team to approach a problem in a different way. Alternative meeting rooms can be hired, or less traditional meeting spaces can be used.
To take this one step further, “stand-up meetings” (which as the name suggests, see participants standing in groups, rather than sitting around the usual meeting room table) naturally encourage people to be concise and to-the-point, increasing the efficiency of sessions.
Now for the most important consideration; ensure that you reap the benefits of any brainstorm sessions. Make sure that detailed notes are recorded and distributed, and be clear on next steps. Otherwise, the valuable groundwork that has been done to combat the problem in question, simply becomes a well-planned, well-executed, rather inspiring waste of time.
The benefits of a brainstorming session should never be overlooked or underestimated. The underlying teamwork involved in a brainstorm session – working in a collaborative environment towards a shared goal can transform a group into a team. One idea naturally leads to another, and ideas are built upon in a way that could not be achieved alone.