Not only are brainstorms a lot of fun and exciting, they also develop the spirit of freedom to talk and the atmosphere gives all kinds of people a chance to speak out and shine. You can’t always have the most experienced members of the organization on your project team, but you can invite them to a one hour brainstorm and tap into their knowledge and expertise. Here are a few tips to make your brainstorming sessions , the hotbed of ideas
Get your Focus Right
State the purpose of the brainstorming session, right in the very beginning. Begin with a question that is open ended but not too broad in its scope. Directing focus on one specific need often ignites a great session of idea generation. If the topic is ‘dealing with customers’, you could ask what would be the best way to deal with first time customers. There will be a spate of responses as to how you can deal with the issue from all participants. So focus on an issue is important.
Follow the Rules
These rules are unwritten and unsaid, but regular participants in such sessions know them too well. Every conference room has them written somewhere on the white board. The more ideas, the better so opt for quantity, encourage extraordinary ideas, try to be more visual, keep away from judgments and most important, maintain the rule of one speaker at a time. Even in brainstorming sessions where they don’t play by the rules these basic principles have proved to be enriching and empowering.
Count the Ideas
This is a great motivator as participants will vie with one another to generate more number of ideas. It also gives the session a structure and direction. The healthy norm would be a 100 ideas per hour. This is the sign of a really rocking brainstorm. If at the end of the hour, your team seems to have run out of steam, the end goal of reaching 100 keeps the ideas coming up.
Kick start Conversations
Its is a common occurrence in brainstorming sessions when all fall silent. They’ve hit a plateau. Its the facilitator’s cue in such cases to kick start the conversation. Take it gently in another direction, where there is scope for discussion. A leading question most often does the trick. Push ahead with a small variation and circle back to the original topic to maintain the momentum and the enthusiasm.
Make good use of the space
You have created a room and a space to voice your ideas, Now fill that space with the ideas, write on the boards, draw your concepts, use giant post its, colorful markers and make the space reverberate. Your ideas need to be captured in visual low tech mediums which everyone can use and share. Spatial and visual impact is very powerful.
Through brainstorming sessions you can explore the possible solutions from the past, present and the future, which constantly engages the memory and intelligence of your people. Brainstorming skills can translate into greater responsiveness, increased ability to adapt and to anticipate new challenges.