Here are some more tips to help you facilitate an awesome brainstorming or ideation session.
Tip No: 51. Encourage everyone in the session to use phases such as what i find interesting about your ideas are..
Or what is original about your idea is………
Tip No: 52. Send out the brief 24 – 48 hours before the session starts.
It should contain the challenge (i.e. the problem, opportunity, issue) and why this meeting this challenge is important and confirming the logistics of the session (i.e. when & where).
Tip No: 53. Ask people to bring along a business-as-usual idea, a different and a radical one to your session.
This will ensure that you have both quality and quality of ideas.
Tip No: 54. When your are designing the flow of the session work back from the desired outcomes i.e. what is it that you want to achieve?
Tip No: 55. Ask yourself, what does success look like with this brainstorming session?
Is it the number of ideas or an original solution or a quick fix.
Tip No: 56. Be 100% clear about why you are calling a brainstorming session
e.g. could the challenge be better addressed by working with a partner rather than a big group and what you want to get out of it.
Tip No: 57. Every brainstorming session is an opportunity to learn.
End each session with a quick summary of what the group has learned — about the challenge, or the process or each other?
Tip No: 58. If you are considering running a brainstorming session ask yourself what will participants get out of the session?
What is in it for them? By answering these questions you will ensure that people will actually want to come to your next session.
Tip No: 59. Sometimes it is better not to have a brainstorming session.
It depends on the urgency of the problem at hand. If you don’t have time and a group to brainstorm then try Blitzing it by yourself or with a partner.
Tip No: 60. Start every session with an easy problem or issue first.
When you create some big, new ideas for this challenge then you can move on to the harder problems.
In this way you create greater confidence and momentum in the group.
Tip No: 61. Establish a set of guidelines for running a brainstorming session
e.g. Challenge the idea not the person. Send these out with the brief and/or make them explicit at the beginning of the session.
Keep reminding people of these if the session goes off track.
Tip No: 62. Send the problem statement out before the session starts and ask people for any comments or feedback.
Ask people does everyone agree that the key problem we re trying to solve is……… This avoids wasting time at the beginning of each session discussing what the key problem is.
Tip No: 63. Ensure that the Brainstorming sessions starts on time.
Thank people for attending and remind people why they are there and what we hope to accomplish.
Tip No: 64. Before the session starts agree upon the criteria you are going to use to evaluate the ideas.
For example it could be cost, impact, time or any combination. The criteria should flow from the objectives of the session.
Tip No: 65. If someone is being negative take them aside and point out their behaviour and what effect it might have on the rest of the attendees.
If they continue ask them to leave.
Tip No: 66. Before you start solving a problem ask people for any assumptions or beliefs they have about the challenge
e.g. I have always believed we need to sell this product for under $10.
If you can get these out of the table then they can be challengedd. stretched or overturned.
Tip No: 67. Assign one group assumption or belief per small group and ask them to think of at least 9 ways to challenge, break or overturn these. Select the best ones and present to the bigger group.
Tip No: 68. When the group is evaluating ideas give everyone 3 ticks and in 60 seconds they must allocate their ticks to what they believe are the best ideas.
It could be 3 ticks against one idea or 2 on one idea then 1 tick on another. It doesn’t matter. This process will ensure that people do not over-analyse their responses.
Tip No: 69. Afte the group has made a decision call for ‘gut-feel’ time. This is where you give everyone in the group permission to express their gut-feel e.g. i know the numbers don’t add up but my gut tells me that there is still an opportunity here etc. This ensures the individual and collective intuition is listened to and respected.
Tip No: 70. When the group is evaluating ideas give everyone 100 points or $100 each.
They then can allocate this amount or points in whatever way they see fit against what they believe are the best ideas.
Tip No: 71. Ask the group to identify the most original ideas.
Then focus on these and try an make them more practical and simple.
Tip No: 72. If you are facilitating the group check with everyone — how is everyone feeling? Are we making progress towards our goal? Should we have a break?
Tip No: 73. At the end of the session ask everyone what are the ideas that most excite you?
This is a good guide as to whether the session worked or not.
Tip No: 74. If people feel stuck then ask people to stop work and run a face to face or online Blitz on the challenge.
This is a short-hand way of saying — work by yourself and generate 9 ideas in 2 minutes. You will soon be flushed with new ideas and energy.
Tip No: 75. Ask each person in the bigger group to form pairs.
Then run a speed thinking exercise. Have one person generate an idea then the other person must build on this immeddiately.
Then the other person must build on this.
Continue this 9 times back and forth. each pairing will build a big, new concept in minutes.