Brainstorming is the process of collective problem solving by creating a large number of ideas. We often use this method even in everyday life, but not in its full format. When solving business problems, brainstorming requires preparation and the right approach to organizing the process.
Seven Rules of Brainstorming
Limit the Number of Participants
A large group reduces the effectiveness of brainstorming. All brainstormers should come up with at least one idea. With a large audience, first, the meeting will drag on. Secondly, it starts to get chaotic, and not everyone will be able to speak up. Besides, employees reveal themselves better in the small company of acquaintances.
Invite Specialists From Different Spheres and Departments to the Brainstorming
For example, you want to attract new traffic to your site. Have a brainstorming session and invite the marketing department. They began to generate ideas that had already been discussed outside the meeting. This happens because of “backlash” when you work on one project for a long time. But the specialist from the sales department tells us that it is possible to use offline methods and make flyers with qr-code. This is a new perspective of a person who is not immersed in the project.
It’s important that everyone involved understands what it’s all about. The salesperson works with clients all the time and knows their “pains”, so he can give useful advice to the marketing department. For example, an accountant should not be involved in this brainstorming.
Prepare the Room
Book a meeting room or room in advance, set the time and notify the participants. Make sure there are enough chairs, a board for notes and markers. Bring water bottles or warn them to bring their own drinks. During the brainstorming session, you need to be fully immersed in the process, any distractions can reduce its effectiveness. So ask everyone to avoid using their phones, betting via Bet22, and chatting with relatives for several hours.
State the Problem and the Goal of the Brainstorming Session
Each participant should understand what they are being asked to do and why they were invited. This should be communicated in advance and repeatedly reminded before the brainstorming session.
Set a Time Frame
Long meetings are tiring and their effectiveness is reduced. Determine the length of the event; if you don’t meet the timing, but you see that everyone has a creative impulse, continue. If the effectiveness of the assault decreases, on the contrary, you can finish earlier and come back to it on another day. The key is not to stretch the process over a week, but to solve the problem while it’s “hot.”
Write Down Ideas
Identify a “secretary” who will record all suggestions. It’s best to write it down on a whiteboard for notes, so participants don’t have to repeat themselves with variations.
Remember, there are no good or bad ideas in a brainstorming session. Criticism only suppresses the desire to speak out. So leave all value judgments for the selection phase, and during the generation process, write down all suggested options.
Don’t Push It
Despite time constraints, there is no need to rush participants if they aren’t ready to speak. Have a warm-up session first to help participants relax and get to know each other. Ideas are usually reluctant at first: there is a rocking-out process. But by the middle of the meeting, there will be a peak of activity, and the most incredible suggestions will come at the end.
The ideal brainstorming session is when everyone gives out lots of ideas in a creative burst. But it also happens that participants sit and stare at each other in silence. To avoid this, research the team beforehand and choose the appropriate method for brainstorming.
Participants write down ideas on paper, with each completing the previous colleague’s version. If you know you have a lot of introverts on your team, use this technique.
All participants are divided into three groups. The first generates ideas aloud, the second does not interfere, but writes down thoughts in a notebook. The third group evaluates the first two, while they can add suggestions. The technique is suitable for a large team.
Participants look at a problem from different perspectives. If you take the problem of increasing traffic, which we discussed above, during the assault, you can try on the role of the buyer who came to the site for a product, or a reader of the blog. The method is suitable for both group and individual brainstorming.
All participants critique the object of discussion and write down the minuses. Then, for each point, they pick a solution to the problem. The technique helps to explore the problem in more detail.