1. Let the boss speak first
Nothing kills a brainstorming session like a dominating CEO or the brown-nosers who rush to agree with his every statement. Bosses should lock themselves out of idea-generation sessions altogether. Send him out for doughnuts, and you’ll get better results.
2. Give everybody a turn
Don't go packing 16 people into a room for one particular meeting where each person has two minutes to speak. It may be democratic, but it's painful and it's pointless. It's a performance, not a brainstorm. In a real brainstorm, the focus should never be on just one person.
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A poorly planned brainstorming session could cause more harm than good. And more frustration than anything else.
The six strategies below are absolute no-no’s — surefire innovation killers.
3. Ask the experts only
For generating truly innovative ideas, deep expertise in a field can actually be a drawback. In a brainstorm, we’re looking for breadth. Cross-pollination from seemingly unrelated fields can lead to authentic breakthroughs.
4. Go off-site
By conducting off-site brainstorming sessions, you only reinforce the concept that great ideas only come on the beach or at high altitudes — not in the proximity of your daily work.
5. No silly stuff
Don't just invite ideas to result in something the firm can market. Wild ideas need to be welcome. Brainstorming should be fun.
6. Write down everything
Obsessive note-taking is toxic to brainstorming. It shifts the focus to the wrong side of the brain. It makes the session feel like History 101. Doodles and sketches are fine. A short note that preserves a thought is acceptable. But detailed writing destroys momentum, dissipates energy, and distracts from the main purpose of the exercise: unfettered thinking. Each session should have an assigned scribe who records suggestions. And that person should not be the group facilitator.
When all the current cost-cutting is over and business models begin to make sense again, one thing will differentiate winning companies from also-rans: their ability to innovate.
“Innovate or die” is not an idle threat. It’s the harsh reality of the modern, fast-forward economy.
So how to do brainstorming and what rules to follow for sparking good ideas?
❤️ Brainstash Inc.