May 28, 2021 Project Management

7 Tips for Effective Brainstorming Sessions

7 Tips for Effective Brainstorming Sessions

Do you cringe whenever you have to host a brainstorming session? Do you believe it’s a complete waste of time? Although it’s necessary to ensure your team members are on the same page, these types of sessions usually turn into a few people bickering while others stay silent.

On the other hand, even if you had a great session, brainstorming notes may get lost in the email chain abyss, never to be seen again. These are only some of the examples of brainstorming gone wrong.

To host a successful brainstorming session, you must choose quantity over quality. Brainstorming should be an initial step in the exploration phase of a new project, where you are open to new possibilities and ideas. When problems arise, all team members are there to provide good suggestions and eliminate not-so-good ones.

Now, let’s check out effective brainstorming tips and discover the true meaning behind this word!

The main purpose of brainstorming

The brainstorming concept was developed in 1942 by Alex Faickney Osborn while he was creating BBDO, an advertising film. The goal of this concept is to generate new ideas without criticizing any thoughts. Here are the most important things you can accomplish with brainstorming:

  • The primary purpose of brainstorming is to solve an issue innovatively or creatively.
  • This concept emphasizes and boosts an individual’s ideation process and enhances creative thinking in people.
  • Brainstorming avoids criticism while welcoming and encouraging all ideas on the table.
  • With the help of brainstorming, individuals can work on existing ideas.
  • Last but not least, it is believed that getting a new perspective towards a problem can generate tons of solutions.

It is crucial to note that brainstorming allows people to think more freely, without fear or judgment, while opening new opportunities.

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The benefits of brainstorming

So, what makes brainstorming beneficial? As the definition of this term explains, brainstorming tries to find a solution to a problem by collecting information and holding a group discussion. It is useful in an early stage of a project, and it can bring together a wide range of viewpoints.

  • Brainstorming breaks the monotonous approach of solving a problem, offering a new perspective on the same problem.
  • Considering this concept works in different ways, it focuses on various ideas to provide a holistic solution.
  • Students are often taught brainstorming in universities because it is believed that these techniques encourage better understanding and self-learning.
  • Brainstorming is a great tool to boost your teamwork and gather all ideas from your team members.
  • When it comes to fixing a deadlock or list-building, this technique gets the input of the group.
  • You don’t require advanced tools to perform brainstorming sessions; since there are no right or wrong rules, everything is permitted.

Types of brainstorming techniques

Here are a couple of types of brainstorming techniques you may find helpful:

1. Brainwriting – separates an idea generation from the discussion. For instance, a team leader or a project manager should share the topic with the team and ask them to write down their ideas.

2. Figure storming – have you ever thought about how someone else would manage a situation? Or what they have to say about a particular topic? Figure storming can help you accomplish that.

3. Online brainstorming – remote teams are gaining popularity across all industries. When you have to organize a brainstorming session, you will choose an online location where team members can work together.

4. Rapid ideation – you will apply this brainstorming technique when you want to generate ideas quickly, without filtering or overthinking.

5. Round robin brainstorming – a team will form a circle, and every person in a team will offer an idea until everyone has had a turn.

6. Starbursting – it focuses on questions instead of solutions. It challenges the team to come up with as many questions as they can about a particular topic.

Brainstorming an idea

You are probably familiar with the phrase quality over quantity. Well, in brainstorming, it’s the total opposite - the more ideas, the merrier. So, instead of working on a grand idea, focus on as many ideas as possible. This method provides you with more options to choose from.

When it comes to brainstorming sessions, make sure to leave out any negativity. Favoring one idea over another will only affect the creative process and limit how ideas are shared. Without criticism, you will create an environment where people can freely share their thoughts.

Also, encourage ideas to be expressed, regardless of how eccentric they might appear. And, eventually, build on ideas. Of course, your team won’t be able to accomplish every idea; however, you can use those for inspiration.

Running an effective brainstorming session

Do you know how to conduct a brainstorming session? If you are still struggling with the basics, here are a few ideas that can help you run a successful brainstorming meeting.

  • Keep it short
  • Don’t engage too many people
  • Clarify which problems require a solution
  • Set up a clear agenda
  • Make sure your group prepares individually
  • Make the meeting as easy as possible
  • Think about alternatives to a meeting, like cloud-based solutions
  • Structuring a brainstorming session

All successful companies are built on good ideas. But, to generate the right kind of idea, team leaders need to know to structure a brainstorming session. To ensure you start every meeting fully prepared, follow the steps below:

  1. Set up goals – the main objective should be stated and understood by all team members.
  2. Encourage creativity – this is a crucial phase where many people fail. It should be fully embraced, letting individuals be free to express their ideas.
  3. Ideation – participants should come up with an idea within ten minutes.
  4. Critique and sharing – every team member should be able to present their idea. To avoid chaos, organize administrators who will structure a discussion and provide every participant an opportunity to share.
  5. Categorize – the last step of structured brainstorming is the categorization of ideas. In that case, all the previous work won’t be lost. If you want to save time, you can incorporate this step earlier in the process, so your team can organize ideas.

Widespread utilization

Brainstorming is a widely accepted concept, and even many companies perform brainstorming exercises to keep their employees on toes. This activity is extremely revitalizing for the brain, and it breaks conventional and traditional thinking while boosting fresh ideas.

That’s why brainstorming has found numerous uses in many departments and industries. However, it is prevalent in studying, marketing, and content writing.

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