Brainstorming sessions are commonplace at SmartSites. Whether we are trying to work through some ideas or come up with new strategies, you can usually find us in the conference room exchanging ideas. Below are some of the tips and tricks that we use to make sure that if we hit a wall, we have a way to break through or get around it.
1. Prepare in Advance
Don’t come to the table empty-handed. We usually schedule these sessions in advance with a clear topic in mind. If you know the scope, make sure to have a few ideas in mind to share with the team, instead of waiting for the ideas to come.
2. Work With a Diverse Group
When orchestrating a brainstorming session, make sure you have the right people in the room. It helps to bring in some critical thinkers and creative people along with some key execs. Having only like-minded people will most likely result in circling the same thoughts over and idea.
3. Take a Breather
Brainstorming sessions should not feel like a lecture. Give people a chance to respond and react instead of steam rolling them with words and ideas. When everyone has a chance to join the discussion, your ideas will grow.
4. Take Notes
If all goes well, your brainstorm session will be successful and you have found the answer to your problem or just made the next big idea. Jot down notes during the conversation to make sure you remember how you got to the solution and more importantly, what the solution was.
5. Make a Joke
Tensions can get high around the office when a group of people are discussing and sometimes arguing for their ideas. A good way to clear the air is crack a joke that gives people a chance to laugh. Everyone likes to smile.
6. Take a Break
Have you been circling around the same issue or question for over an hour? It is a good to take a little time off of the subject and give people a chance to recharge.
7. Have a Drink
I am not saying we have livers like Don Draper, but a glass of wine or bottle of beer helps us get the creative juices flowing.
8. Bring the Conversation to Lunch
Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to connect the one missing piece and solve the problem. It helps to step out of the conference room and discuss over some sushi at lunch or a beer at happy hour.