How To Keep Brainstorming Sessions More Productive
Ever held a brainstorming session that left you wanting? We’ve all been there: people lose focus, some don’t contribute, nobody takes action afterward. But it’s easier than you might think to get your brainstorms in shape.
- Give your team time to prepare for the brainstorming session
Make sure your meeting invite goes out at least a week in advance.
- Identify the problem you’re trying to solve
It’s important to give context, so everybody’s on the same page from the beginning. Remember—brainstorming’s about generating ideas and possibilities, not solutions.
- Delegate a moderator
Nominate a colleague who’s outgoing and able to provide direction in an open, approachable manner.
- Aim to start general and end specific
Let the team know that the focus is on the quantity of ideas, not quality. Encourage participants to think big, generating diverse and expansive ideas. Explain to them that there will be a time later to develop some ideas.
- Encourage all team members to contribute
Ask everybody to write out 10–20 ideas and stick them up on the wall for everyone to see.
- Pick the best ideas
Narrow down the team’s ideas with a simple system, like taking a show of hands of the most popular ones. Shoot to land on 3–5 ideas.
- Designate responsibilities
Assign the ideas you’ve chosen to breakout groups, and plan a follow–up session once those groups have further fleshed out the ideas.