Businesses always aim to establish productive brainstorming sessions between employees so they would come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Brainstorming is a technique that can help employees to come up with creative solutions to problems. However, not all businesses know how to implement brainstorming techniques properly so they can achieve the most productive sessions possible.
For instance, if the people involved in the discussion are mostly quick thinkers and extroverts, they can easily dominate the conversation and leave no room for others to contribute. This can derail the brainstorming session, only leading to fewer new ideas.
On the other hand, if people who are too shy to speak up dominated the brainstorming session, then the session will not be productive either. To have an effective brainstorming session, it’s important to find a balance between the personalities of those involved.
Effective Brainstorming Techniques for Small Businesses
There are a few things that businesses can do to help make brainstorming sessions more productive. Keeping these in mind and incorporating them into the company culture can help to increase the creativity and innovation of employees.
1. Determine the goal
It is important to have a specific goal or problem in mind before beginning the brainstorming process. Without a focal point, employees may become scattered and less productive. The goal can differ depending on the needs of your business. For instance, you can discuss how to generate 1099 or create a W-2 form.
Additionally, it is important to establish some ground rules for brainstorming sessions to keep them organized and on track. For example, setting a time limit or prohibiting criticism can help to encourage creativity. Another would be to allow only ideas, no judgments so everyone can speak freely.
2. Encourage participation
Inviting everyone in the meeting to speak what’s on their mind and share their ideas is the best way to start a brainstorming session. This will encourage everyone to be more participative and forthcoming with their thoughts. This also means that everyone, from the CEO down to the interns, should feel comfortable sharing their ideas. The more people participate in the discussion, the more ideas they will generate.
3. Set the tone
The tone of a brainstorming session should be positive and supportive. No idea is too silly or outrageous and everyone should feel free to share their thoughts. This helps to create a creative environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks. For example, the idea of one participant differs from the other. However, you can take them together and make a connection.
4. Foster creativity
This is the creative process that can help you build on somebody else’s idea, turning it into something more valuable. You don’t have to be a genius to come up with great ideas. It is all about working together, sharing your thoughts, and building on the ideas of others.
Because brainstorming sessions can be draining, start with a few creative exercises to boost energy and get the juices flowing. Once people are in a more creative frame of mind, they will be better able to come up with new ideas.
5. Promote collaboration
Always encourage your employees to work together to come up with ideas for your business goals. This can be done by providing the employees the opportunity to work on extensive projects and collaborate with other employees. This will help enhance their skills and allow them to come up with better ideas. Aside from that, they get to experience working with other people and develop teamwork skills.
6. Set rules of engagement
Brainstorming sessions can be more productive if there are a few ground rules in place. Setting rules during the discussion can help keep everyone on track and avoid any distractions. Some rules that can be implemented are:
- No judgment – This is a safe space for ideas and suggestions to be thrown out there, no matter how crazy they may seem.
- Quantity over quality – Generate as many ideas as possible, so don’t focus on whether or not they are good ideas.
- Free association – Encourage participants to share any thoughts that come to mind without censoring themselves.
- Build on others’ ideas – When someone shares an idea, the goal is to add on to it, rather than shoot it down.
- Note ideas down – Keep track of all the ideas that are being thrown out there and make revisiting them later easier.
7. Use a whiteboard for brainstorming
Having a whiteboard is convenient in every brainstorming session. It can be used to write down ideas, group them, and make diagrams. This will help you keep track of the session and have a better understanding of what was discussed. In addition, you can take pictures of it once the meeting is over to have a visual reminder.
8. Take breaks
It’s important to take a break in every brainstorming session. After all, they can be mentally tiring. But it’s also essential to have breaks in between different brainstorming sessions. This will help refresh everyone’s minds and allow them to come up with new ideas for the next session.
7 efficient methods for group brainstorming
In this nonverbal brainstorming technique, each person jots down three thoughts that are associated with the brainstorm’s subject. Give this procedure four to six minutes. Everyone then distributes their ideas to the person to their right (or left, as you like), who will then expand upon them by including bullet points or innovative techniques. Your remote team can communicate with each other using a tool like Slack. The piece of paper will be passed around the table once more after a short while, and so on until it has gone around the entire table. The group then discusses the ideas and chooses which ones should be pursued once they have gone around the circle.
Before any ideas are discussed, analyzed, or developed further, fast ideation requires everyone to write as many ideas as they can in a predetermined length of time. You must set (and adhere to) a time limit for this brainstorming process or you run the risk of losing the sense of urgency.
In figure storming, the group chooses a famous person who is not there and talks about how they would handle the issue or frame their perspective. This person could be a boss, a fictitious character, or a well-known public figure. You might inquire, for instance, “How would Oprah Winfrey approach this issue?” Although it can seem ridiculous to ask, doing so can help you and your team come at the issue from a different angle.
Eidetic image technique
Jacqueline Sussman, a psychologist and author, suggests using visualization to access vivid images from all of our past experiences. Set your intentions first: Ask the group to close their eyes and state their purpose for what they will produce, such as a cutting-edge smartphone. Each member of the group makes a mental commitment to themselves that they will create a new phone design that is distinct from existing models.
Brain nets, also known as online brainstorming techniques
This method of group brainstorming only requires a central location where team members can jot down their ideas. You can organize real-time brainstorming techniques using Slack if all of your employees are in the same time zone to generate ideas jointly. If your team is spread out, you can set up a rolling Google doc that enables team members to record their ideas whenever they come to them, taking into account their busy schedules and time zones. WeWork On Demand or WeWork All Access can be used by teams in the same city to reserve a conference room or common area for in-person brainstorming sessions.
Mind mapping can be used when the first concept shared with the group isn’t the best idea, but it prompts three excellent ideas. With this technique, the group starts with one idea and then uses lines to connect similar ideas to it. For people who think visually, mind mapping is a visual technique to approach brainstorming sessions.
When a group has already decided on an idea to develop and maybe adopt, they can use the brainstorming approach known as starbursting.
Brainstorming Techniques: Final Thoughts
To summarize, brainstorming has always been an essential tool in the business world, and for good reason. It can help improve creativity, communication, and productivity. However, it is critical to use the right techniques when brainstorming to get the most out of your team. To do this, assess what type of problem you are trying to solve then you can use any of the techniques described above to get your team started.