Most of the people who have ever tried brainstorming agree on one thing: they can be extremely successful OR they can give no measurable result at all. More often than not it seems that a big chunk of time has been wasted away with no significant results. There will be only a few people who will actually pitch in some ideas, while everybody else just sits there in complete silence. Sounds familiar? Well, there are a few ways to make this process more productive:
Quality over quantity
Brainstorming must produce many ideas. A lot of them. Quality here does not really matter, only the quantity does. Be open-minded to all kinds of different ideas, sometimes even the most ridiculous thoughts turn out to be genius ideas.
Try putting on someone else’s shoes and looking at the situation not from your own perspective but from a perspective of somebody else. A scientist? Why not. A celebrity? Go ahead. Some new and exciting ideas might come out of it.
Having a deadline is sometimes a good thing. There is a special technique where a team leader gives all the necessary information to the team and sets the time limit. A team has to write everything they have got before the time is up. Why does it work? You don’t have time to think. You have an idea – you write it down.
Giving each participant a time to shine
Quite often people are simply too shy during a brainstorming session. They think their ideas are too ridiculous to speak of. However, there is a way to overcome this. You simply have to give everyone a chance to tell what is on their mind. Put everyone in a circle and let everyone share ideas one by one. When everyone is done – start discussing it. This trick can really help some of the people to get out of their shells.
Generating first, discussing later
When you picture brainstorming, you usually think of a group of people randomly yelling their ideas at each other. This is hardly the most effective way to produce ideas. Sometimes all you need is to sit and write it down. Separate the discussion from idea generating. It can do wonders! Your introverted participants will sure be happy.
A good question is sometimes more valuable than a thousand good ideas. You can look at your subject matter in a completely different way simply by asking questions about it. This technique ensures that every single aspect of your topic is properly addressed.
Try using these tricks in your next brainstorming session and you will see the results it can bring.