More Brainstorming Tips For Success

October 19th, 2010 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

In Need of a Brainstormphoto © 2010 Kristian Bjornard | more info (via: Wylio)
My previous post on 14 Ideas to Achieve Brainstorming Success generated some great stories about brainstorming experiences.  Here are another 14 ideas to successful brainstorming.

1.      Put time limits on each part of the exercise.

2.      No one can dismiss an idea when the brainstorming starts and it will create an atmosphere of openness and trust.

3.      Start out with a break the ice activity to engage the group.

4.      Try using a neutral environment.

5.      Don’t let anyone raise an objection during the creative part of the process because the premise is that “nothing is impossible.”

6.      Make sure to combine similar ideas and to discard duplicates.

7.      The role of the facilitator is to get those involved who are quiet.

8.      Offer gag or joke prizes for different ideas like, longest, shortest, and craziest.

9.      The facilitator should never comment on the ideas.

10.  A clear understanding of the desired results and of what hasn’t previously worked goes miles to quickly eliminating the non-starters and “been there, done that.”

11.  Check your ego (and your shyness) at the door and bring your A-game of courageous ideas.

12.  Stack and rack the best and then take action.  The process has to have a tangible conclusion; otherwise it can turn into group therapy.

13.  Discuss the session with senior people ahead of time to make sure they quickly take some ownership in the problem when offering ideas.  This frees up lower level staff  to participate.

14.  Try inviting some “unusual” participants if you want truly innovative ideas.

The Takeaway

Effective brainstorming takes planning and a positive atmosphere.  One way to end the session is to issue a challenge for the participants to suggest their wildest ideas.  That permission to offer up any ideas no matter how unusual can create breakthrough ideas.

That is the list. Over to you. Please comment below.

1.      What is your secret to a great brainstorming session?

2.      What else would you add to the list?

3.      How important do you feel the facilitator is in the session?

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  1. Jay Gronlund says:

    Fabulous tips. I would add that preparation is critical for creating a relevant environment and agenda for achieving brainstorming objectives – industry and competitive trends, customer desires and perceptions, strengths to leverage, analagous ideas that worked, critical challenges/issues of company, etc. – all presented in a way that is stimulating but also does not inhibit open-minded brainstorming.

    • Rob Berman says:


      Preparation is such a key to brainstorming success. I had lunch with someone yesterday who runs numerous brainstorming sessions. He said the same thing to me. Thanks for reading.


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