We often find ourselves in situations where we are out of ideas and we need more minds to find a solution or to help us with a new fresh approach.
Unfortunately, brainstorming sessions are not always efficient: some people give useless ideas, some of them are indifferent and others don’t have any thoughts at all.
In order to avoid this situation and to get the most out of your brainstorming session, you need to use these brainstorming techniques:
1. Choose the right participants
The first thing you need to do is to select people who can be really useful during the session. If you invite people who are uninformed about the topic or unrelated to the discussion, they are not going to participate actively and contribute to finding the expected solutions. Eliminate anyone who isn’t invested in the discussion and try to choose those who are fully informed about the topic and can crowdsource ideas at work. The more creative and open your participants are, the more productive your meeting will be.
2. Brainstorm differently
A traditional way of brainstorming ideas is the following: You gather everyone in a room to throw ideas around and conclude the session with some that seem valuable. But this method doesn’t always work for all types of people. There are individuals who need some quiet time to process before they contribute. So, it’s better to ask your participants to feel free to add notes or send in an email with their ideas after the session. This way you can get various creative solutions by letting them process the information they get during brainstorming meetings.
3. Keep it short
Employees love mentioning that shorter meetings are more effective. So, if you want your participants to be more enthusiastic about brainstorming sessions, try announcing the length of the meeting and sticking to it. Nobody loves meetings that go way beyond the scheduled ending time. People appreciate it when you understand that their time is valuable. This way participants will come up with ideas more quickly and will not lose energy or motivation during the session.
4. Use the right tools
Technology is always there to help us in stressful situations and to make our lives easier. There are some fun brainstorming tools that will help your participants be more interested and engaged in the process. You can use engagement tools, such as Swift Polling, which will allow you to create open-ended questions and let the participants send their feedback with their mobile phones. The results will appear in real time on the screen so that everybody can visualize the overall opinion-sharing process. In order to make it more fun, you can try to create word clouds that will appear on a screen showing the words from their feedback, with the size of each word indicating its frequency or importance.
5. Be creative
Go beyond the boundaries! For example, approach creativity backward by brainstorming every idea that couldn’t possibly work. Write down all the ideas that seem strange or useless. You will be surprised how this will often lead to a great solution that could definitely work. Just give your participants some space to be creative and you will soon get your needed results.
Using these strategies, you will start seeing an overall productivity in your brainstorming sessions. Don’t be afraid to encourage unique participation and always remember to experiment.