When brainstorming ideas for business and life on my own, I often enjoy Taking A Hike (or a run for that matter). What about brainstorming as a team at work? What are the best ways to approach a collaborative group brainstorming session at your job? Today, I wanted to share a few insights and tips:
- Approach your brainstorm with a positive, collaborative mindset. All ideas are valid. All ideas are worth consideration. Even if you don’t like a particular idea, please be open and encouraging to your teammates.
- Bring plenty of sticky notes and pens. Brainstorming is so much easier when everyone can write down their ideas and then stick them on the wall.
- Think outside the box. Bring crazy, big ideas. No idea is too large. Big ideas get the team thinking, even if they are not immediately possible.
- Start off the brainstorm with a fun, team activity. For example, go around the table and share your favorite music artist and how their music relates to your company. Anything that gets the team thinking in new ways is valuable. Brainstorming requires unique, new ways of thinking.
- Consider involving a variety of contributors from teams across your company, and partners too. The more diverse the viewpoints at the table, the greater opportunity for big ideas.
- Be incredibly careful with your words. Do not say anything that could remotely be considered as negative or putting an idea down. Brainstorms thrive in a supportive environment.
- Arrive on-time with an energetic attitude. Get a good night’s sleep before the brainstorm, and arrive on a full stomach. Consider bringing snacks too, for the entire team. Brainstorms require energy.
- Prepare for the brainstorm. Do a little brainstorming on your own before the big event. Also, prepare background materials that may be of help to the group. That said, also think in the moment and don’t be closed to new ideas. The best ideas come in a team environment.
- Be considerate of everyone at the table. Try not to be the only one contributing ideas. Don’t overpower the discussion. That said, make sure you are heard too, and don’t be afraid to speak up. The best brainstorms are all about equality and fairness to everyone in the group.
- Take really great notes. Take photos of the board and collaborative notes. Don’t let any of the the great ideas go to waste.
Image of Lightbulbs Brainstorm © iStockPhoto – hjalmeida