Tips for Better Brainstorming: Employer Edition

You hired your people for their brains. They have the ability to develop great ideas and the skills to execute and organize all the bits and pieces to bring that idea to fruition.So when the time comes for the team to brainstorm, as it inevitably does with each big project, why is it feeling a little forced? Maybe even a little stale?


Brain power is not a never-ending source, and if you're running a pretty high-octane ship, there's a good chance the traditional "brainstorming session" just isn't cutting it for your team any more. Lucky for you, it's already a fluid activity so trying something new can't hurt. Whatever you do will bring some fresh ideas to the table, but here are some places to start:

1) Split Into Groups

One of the biggest problems with typical group brainstorming is that success leans towards those who are outgoing. A situation like this doesn't lend itself to introverts providing input, as introverts tend to be more comfortable with observation rather than participation. Quieter people sit back, more confident people speak up. Simple as that.

Breaking into groups gives everyone a fighting chance to have their voice heard. Once solutions and ideas are discussed, one person from each group reports their decisions back to the whole team. It allows everyone to have more of a say rather than ceding the floor to the chatty people, and gives people some time to consider ideas rather than be bombarded with them.

2) Sleep On It

Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. Run a standard brainstorming session but rather than ending it there, send everyone home to sleep on it. Tell them to keep a notebook by their bed, and think a little bit as they're falling asleep. Any ideas they have when they wake up can be written down and shared with the group which reconvenes for a short time the next day. While traditional brainstorming sessions leave people feeling rushed about their decisions and wishing they had more time to spend on it, this method allows everyone sufficient time to wander their brainwaves.

3) Ambassador Method

This method turns "splitting into groups" on its head and gives it some more structure. Divide your entire team into two groups to meet for 10 to 15 minutes - one group will brainstorm silently, and the other will discuss aloud (people can choose whichever group they'd like to be in). Each team then spends 5 minutes organizing, refining, and clarifying their ideas as a group, and sends one member to the other team to present their ideas.

After presenting their ideas, the members return with the feedback, and the groups have another round of brainstorming. At this point, anyone can join either group– people may want to switch it up. This back and forth can go on as long as you'd like, but more than three times probably isn't going to get much more of a return.

It's important to have a change of pace or a change of scenery for brainstorming to be effective. So give your employees just that, and spice up your brainstorming style once in a while. You never know what might result!

Posted: 4/19/2017 2:37:19 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments