And while it’s pretty easy for me to sit down and start brainstorming along, it’s admittedly much harder to do it with a team of varied outlooks. But in the end it’s also these differences that make the creative process so magical — especially when the dynamics of your team create positive synergy! Here are some rules and tips to help make your next group brainstorming session a success.
Eight Tips for Team BrainstormingMeanwhile, Robert Sutton, professor at Stanford’s School of Engineering, a co-founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, offers these tips on group brainstorming.
- Use brainstorming to combine and extend ideas, not just to harvest ideas.
- Don’t bother if people live in fear. Understand if your organizational culture supports brainstorming or if it is doomed to fail.
- Do individual brainstorming before and after group sessions.
- Brainstorming sessions are worthless unless they are woven with other work practices like observing users, talking to experts, or building prototype products.
- Brainstorming requires skill and experience both to do and, especially, to facilitate.
- A good brainstorming session is competitive—in the right way.
- Use brainstorming sessions for more than just generating good ideas.
- Follow the rules, or don’t call it a brainstorm.
Most people have had their share of painful brainstorming sessions. Next time you bring a group together to come up with new ideas, make the meeting run smoothly and the outcome more effective by adopting these rules:
1. No judgment. Every idea should be welcome. Write down anything that’s offered by a group member. Keep in mind that judgment is the single fastest way to shut down creativity. Kill one idea early on, and many more will be left unsaid.
2. Encourage the group to build on ideas. One thought can lead to an even better one down the road. Ask people to actively listen to what others are saying, instead of just waiting for their turn to talk.
3. Move quickly. Don’t get caught up in the details of any one idea. Capture the essence and move on. You can always delve into the specifics later.
Adapted from the Playing to Win Strategy Toolkit.