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How to Brainstorm — Remotely

Determine who is involved in the brainstorm

Determine who is involved in the brainstorm

Identify the roles and expertise you want, and then find people who fit that description. This will help you ensure that the group you bring together is more diverse, bringing a range of different backgrounds and perspectives to the problem-solving task.

Prior to the pandemic, it was a hurdle for people with broad and diverse perspectives to be in the same room, physically together. With remote work, it is easier to bring in people having a range of different backgrounds and perspectives to sit together remotely and brainstorm on the task at hand.

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Steps to Successful Brainstorming
  1. Lay out the problem you want to solve.
  2. Identify the objectives of a possible solution.
  3. Try to generate solutions individually.
  4. Once you have gotten...
Before heading into a group brainstorming session...

... organizations should insist that staffers first try to come up with their own solutions. 

One problem with group brainstorming is that when we hear someone else’s solution to a problem, we tend to see it as what  an “anchor - we get stuck on that objective and potential solution to the exclusion of other goals.

Only after participants have done their homework ...

... meaning clarifying the problem, identifying objectives, and individually trying to come up with solutions, a brainstorming session can be extremely productive.

The Eureka Myth
The Eureka Myth

There is a big misconception that ideas generate like a flash.

Researches show that such insights are actually the culminating result of prior hard work on a problem. Itt&#...

The Breed Myth

A lot of people think that creative ability is a trait inherent in one’s heritage or genes. In fact, there is no such thing as a creative breed.

Creative minds are not born, they are made. People who have confidence in themselves and work the hardest on a problem are the ones most likely to come up with a creative solution.

The Originality Myth

There's a long-standing myth about intellectual property - the idea that a creative idea is proprietary to the person who thought of it.

But history and empirical research revealed that new ideas are actually combinations of older ideas and that sharing those helps generate more innovation.

Linus Pauling

“If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas.”

Linus Pauling
Creativity and remote work
  • In the discussion about remote work, most of conversation goes around finding ways to make emote workforce more productive and efficient. Yet while productivity matters, creativity often gets left out of that conversation.
  • As remote work will be the new normal for many of us, the discussion cannot be about which is the better place to do creative work. We have to get better at being creative remotely. It’s no longer a nice-to-have.
Brainwriting over brainstorming

Remote work allows us go beyond the standard approach to brainstorming by using brainwriting.

  • This brainwriting approach prevents the loudest person, first to speak, or most experienced person from dominating the conversation.
  • Exchanging written ideas also allows the introvert to shine and it's easier on to team members whose first language may not be English.
  • There is less social pressure to follow one person’s idea, so everyone contributes equally.