No creative thinking guide would be complete without a few brainstorm rules. The point of a brainstorm is to generate the most ideas possible, and the easiest way to create a nurturing environment that encourages sharing is to follow some simple rules of brainstorm etiquette. Simply play by these rules and the whole group will succeed.
Follow these rules for brainstorm etiquette:
Come to the brainstorm session prepared. Whether you’re the facilitator or a participant, show up on time and ready to go. If preparation or research was required for the meeting, set aside some time beforehand. Everyone’s time is valuable. Be sure to respect it.
Nobody rides for free. Every participant has been invited for a reason. You were invited because you bring a unique viewpoint, skill set or experience to the meeting. If you’re facilitating, remind your brainstorm participants that they were handpicked because their input was valued.
Give the brainstorm your undivided attention. Time is limited, so make the most of it. You aren’t fully engaged if you’re staring into a smart phone or distracted by a side conversation. NOTE: Scheduled breaks should be provided so participants can keep up with other work-related projects.
There’s no ownership in a brainstorm. Every idea belongs to the group, so don’t be afraid to build and develop on any idea that the group generates. Building and developing is the positive alternative to judging.
Mute your internal judge. This isn’t the time to filter, limit or discount ideas. This brainstorm session is about generating the maximum quantity of ideas. There will be a time later to evaluate the possibility of each idea.
Provide clearly defined next steps at the end of each brainstorming session. Nobody likes to leave a brainstorm without a clear picture of what’s going to happen next. Let them know what your plan is and how you’re going to develop the ideas they shared.