In Part 1, we discussed that if you’re looking for creativity and innovation, you need to have a plan. We also covered from A to M. If you missed Planning A Brainstorm From A to Z – Part 1, start with Part 1 first. In Part 2, we complete our brainstorm checklist that will help you plan and execute a brainstorming session.
No “No” – While it is highly likely that this was covered in the ground rules, it’s worth repeating. Brainstorms depend on the participants to feel comfortable sharing their ideas. So, let them share them. There will be time to edit later.
Opportunity – You never know where a good idea will come from. It’s important to learn to capture, consider and explore any nugget that’s offered by a participant. Even if it’s just for a moment, give each idea an opportunity to grow into more.
Planning – Great brainstorms don’t just happen. They’re carefully planned. From who to invite to what brainstorm techniques you use, think through your brainstorm session beforehand. For a simple guide, check out our Brainstorm Tips.
Quiet Place To Think – When people say the word “brainstorm” everyone immediately thinks of a group and a bunch of crazy activities. But sometimes all you need is one person and a quiet place to think. If you find the group thing overwhelming, don’t be afraid to try this brainstorm method first.
Refreshments – Busy brains need energy. You don’t need to provide a massive spread of food, but it would be nice to offer them a little something. Even bowls of pretzels or bagels. This is especially important for meetings that last 90 minutes or longer.
Snapshots – It’s incredibly important to capture the output of every brainstorm. Unfortunately, over-sized notepads don’t keep particularly well. Get rid of them. Bring a camera (or use your phone) to take pictures of your notes. They’re easy to file, and you can keep them forever.
Time Management – You owe it to your brainstorm participants to keep to a schedule. Start on time. End on time. And keep things moving in between. Don’t rush the process, but an efficiently run brainstorm session will keep creativity and innovation flowing.
Understanding – Do your brains know why they’re here? It’s essential that everyone in your brainstorm session has an understanding of what their trying to accomplish and what their role is. Just take a few minutes at the beginning and bring everyone up to speed.
Variety of Methods – There’s no right way to brainstorm. Don’t be afraid to try different brainstorming techniques and pick the ones that work best for you. For simple how-to guides for a variety of brainstorm methods, visit our Brainstorm Blog.
Wastebasket – Not every idea is a winner. Eventually, there comes a time to separate the wheat from the chaff. This can be done by the group or by a smaller team. Be sure to evaluate the ideas against the original criteria and make unbiased choices.
X Marks The Spot – Know where you’re trying to go. A good plan is the most important thing to have in a brainstorm. A finish line is a close second. It gives your brainstorm session a purpose and makes it easier to select the right brainstorm technique.
Yes Man – Make sure each person you invite is capable of carrying their own weight. Floaters have no place in your brainstorm. They’ll only distract the people who are there to do the heavy lifting for you.
Zero Interruption – Nothing derails creativity and innovation like a ringing cell phone. You don’t need to go as far as banning them from your brainstorm session, but be sure to ask your participants to put them on vibrate before the meeting starts. Regular breaks will encourage them to comply.