How to run a successful brainstorming session again and again
1. Invite a diverse group.
This would include people close to the problem and others outside it
2. Send out the problem or challenge a day beforehand
This allows participants to think about the challenge before the session starts.
It also allows people to ask any questions about the challenge before the session rather than during it.
3. Ask people to come along with 3 ideas
In this way if you have 10 people you start the session with 30 ideas.
It also means that people come prepared and have invested in the session.
They also have to think for themselves and it will lead to a greater diversity of ideas.
4. Only make the session a max of 1.5 hours
In this way you will get more people along and create some urgency.
It’s better to have shorter more frequent sessions.
Like a muscle, individual and collective creative thinking will become stronger through usage.
5. Introduce new stimulus at various times
This might include for example, images of consumers, random brands, inspiring videos etc.
Don’t forget to discuss the 3 ideas of each participant.
6. Have a plan for the session but go where the energy in the group takes you.
It’s good to have a plan but remain flexible.
If a discussion or a group is really taking off don’t end it because of a preconceived plan.
7. Check in with the group every 10 minutes or so
For example ask the group, How are we going? Need a break? Is there anything not clear?
And outline to people what is the next step.
8. Remind people of the goal or challenge again and again.
This is an important role of the facilitator – to keep reminding the group of the original challenge or problem so the session does not go off track.
9. Place the extroverts together
Many facilitators or leaders struggle with this aspect of group work.
What to do with the extroverts?
My suggestion is place them all in the one group – the introverts will love you.
10. Do a quick evaluation pause halfway through.
Ask the group – What are the best ideas?
Now capture these.
Then ask – what are the most original ideas?
Now have the group or team focus on these for the next 10 minutes.
11. Work from the individual, to a smaller group then to a bigger group.
In this way everyone is heard and has a chance to contribute.
It also ensures that there is less chance of group think.
12. End with a thank you and agreed next steps
Don’t forget to send out any notes from the session ASAP to keep the momentum.
I hope you find these brainstorming tips useful.
These are just 12 tips to running a more successful session again and again.
If you would like some more tips check out my free ebook on Brainstorming.