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7 Brainstorming Techniques for More Productive Team Meetings

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2019/01/03/brainstorming-techniques

wordstream.com

7 Brainstorming Techniques for More Productive Team Meetings
Isaac Newton was a hack. I know that will ruffle some feathers among our readers in the physics community (of whom there are many). But I had to get your attention. Newton was lucky enough to have a great idea fall onto his head.

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A brief overview of brainstorming

The brainstorming process was popularized in the 1950s by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive at Barton, Batton, Durstine, & Osborn (BBDO).

Frustrated by his employees’ inability to come up with good campaign ideas on their own, Osborn started to experiment with different collaborative exercises.

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Principles of brainstorming

  • Generate as many ideas as possible. For the purposes of this exercise, quantity is more important than quality.
  • Don’t judge any ideas until the session is over. People will hold back if they think they may be judged negatively.
  • Encourage people to think outside of the box. Although wild ideas may not be feasible, they steer the conversation in new directions.
  • Combine ideas. Encouraging people to build off one another makes it easier for them to contribute and boosts team morale.

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Work alone—together

Give people time to think by themselves prior to the brainstorm, so everyone has a chance to take his or her thought process in a unique direction.

A potential consequence of brainstorming is convergent thinking: the tendency for individuals’ ideas to become increasingly similar over the course of a brainstorming session.

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Assemble a team of people who really know each other

For the best results, put together a group of employees who are not only capable of working together, but who enjoy working together, too.

A brainstorming session is far more effective when the participants are familiar with each other.

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Differentiate between feasible and original

It’s important to clearly define the goals of your brainstorming session. Because as a brainstorming session goes on, the ideas tend to get less feasible and more original.

So if you’re looking for something that falls in line with what you’re already doing, you can keep your sessions short and sweet. And if you’re looking for something that you’ve never done before, you should aim for relatively long brainstorms.

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The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:

The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
  • Defer judgment (don’t get upset when people say bad ideas).
  • Reach for quantity (come up with as many ideas as possible).

Obstacles to an effective brainstorming:

  • Fear of judgment from people in positions of power;
  • Extroverts take center stage;
  • Groups hate scary ideas, even it they're great ones;

Steps of the creative process

  1. Preparation: individual study to focus your mind on the problem;
  2. Incubation: the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally;
  3. Intimation: you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way;
  4. Illumination: your creative idea moves to conscious awareness;
  5. Verification: your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed.

Brainstorming

It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can ...

Brainstorming for problem solving

  • It brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions.
  • It can help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. 
  • It helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.

Why individual brainstorming might bring better results

  • groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviors creep in
  • people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. 

On your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative.

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Take a Nap

Dreaming is a source of inspiration because your brain is working even when you’re asleep.

If you can’t seem to break through your brainstorming session, take a nap.

Drink

People who are concentrating too hard will sometimes block the creative processes necessary for problem-solving.

A drink or two might just help calm your brain.

Listen to Music

Music can put you into a “mind-wandering” state that’s perfectly conducive to coming up with new and creative ideas.