Simple But Effective Brainstorming Tips for Creative Professionals
Brainstorming is essential for getting results in business. It’s almost an art when you’re in the zone and conjuring up great ideas after another for a project.
But how does brainstorming help you think more effectively?
First, it helps you get good ideas and information out on the table. It’s like going on a scavenger hunt for tiny puzzle pieces, finding them one at a time and adding to an already existing, unassembled puzzle on the table. Now it’s just a matter of finding all the other pieces and eventually putting it together.
Second, it cultivates creativity; it encourages people to see possibilities. Brainstorming causes you to stretch and explore—to not stop at the first thing that comes to your mind but to keep thinking strategically and creatively.
Third, it encourages everyone in a group to participate. Nothing is better than hearing an idea from someone and then saying, “Yes, great idea, but what if we can take it a step further and do this…”.
No idea is a bad idea. Bad ideas simply get you to say “No” which ultimately a step closer to that single “Yes!” you’re seeking.
Fourth, brainstorming is fun and sometimes relaxing, and causes us to want to think some more because we can feel some progress being made (more pieces of the puzzle are being found).
So how do we actually make effective brainstorming happen?
I figured there are two dimensions of brainstorming: the things we conjure up in our own heads and the things we conjure up as a team. Our own thoughts come together and are eventually molded into one outcome built by the team (the finished puzzle).
Below, we will outline things you can do individually (as a boss or an employee) and also as a team.
Here are some ideas to help YOU get in the mindset to brainstorm effectively.
• Relax. Let visions freely come to your mind. Just go and explore the world (or industry) you are aiming at. That includes the people, trends, technology, media, things that have worked, things that haven’t, and even ways you can innovate and change it all.
• Concentrate on what you’re brainstorming about. Get everything else off your mind and focus on the subject at hand.
• Don’t criticize your own ideas internally. If you do, you’ll start hesitating and being too careful. If you do feel something is a bad idea think why and how?
• Take creative risks; think in terms of no rules, no limits.
• Believe in and use your own experiences as a facilitator for ideas. Each person has all the experiences he or she needs for brainstorming.
• Go for a walk outside and talk to yourself. Yes, I said talk to yourself. Have a heart-to-heart about it with your own self.
Now we take the approach of the team as whole. Limit the distractions. I can’t say what exactly constitutes distractions because sometimes some good music can get me in the zone… or staring a screensaver for 10 minutes can create a breakthrough mental moment, or any other kind of visual aids to help stimulate. That’s just me though.
You contribute to the group environment when you:
• Set the tone of the session and keep it alive and free flowing;
• Stock the room with a diverse group of people: developers, marketers, graphic designers, content managers, etc. It works. Trust me. I’ve been there.
• Encourage as many ideas as possible;
• Don’t judge ideas as good or bad during a brainstorming session. Log them for review later. (You never know, it could be a piece of the puzzle that leads to further answers, you know, that corner piece that has nothing elaborate about it but makes the puzzle complete.)
• Don’t look ahead to making key decisions; stay grounded in the brainstorming mind-set.
• Build on each other’s ideas;
• Encourage participation from everyone in the group and get feedback on every idea. Talk about the pro’s and con’s of each idea; and
• Don’t worry about talking all pretty when expressing an idea. Simply try to describe the picture and vision in what you’re seeing- short term and long term. Try to be excited about it, perhaps role play and even use different tones of voice.
Make sure you list the ideas that your group comes up with so you don’t forget them. If you’re at a bar or restaurant, jot them down on a napkin or even in your phone’s notepad.
Think about the two words that make up the genetics of the word > BRAIN …STORM. Once you understand true brainstorming, you’ll realize that it is actually like a tornado in your head. Ideas begin to whip around that you never knew you had—and one idea breeds another idea, and that idea breeds yet another.
Brainstorming often surprises people in a good way. It dusts off those thoughts that lie on top and reveals ideas we are often unaware of deep inside of us. We begin to appreciate more fully what we are capable of and how creative we can be. By causing us to stretch beyond our usual way of thinking, brainstorming makes it hard for us to snap back to where we were before, because we’ve grown.