How to brainstorm with your team

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How to brainstorm withMartijn

How to brainstorm with your team

This post is about how to brainstorm together with a group of people. And how get the most out of it. As shared with you before, the key element to running an effective creative workshop is preparation. So how to proceed now you have the right people with the right mindset together in one room?

Be clear on the desired outcome

Define what you want to get out from your session. Is it about developing new ideas for a product launch next year? Or do you want to develop a content calendar together? Clearly state this at the start of your brainstorm session. Better yet, share this upfront with all participants when you invite them. Give them a small homework assignment to think about. This will get their creative juices flowing.

Diverge first

The basic creative process first stimulates the creative right part of the brain. By deliberately postponing judgement. Start by formulating your problem as a creative challenge. This will get all the brains in the room to come up with new solutions. Thinking outside the box, requires some borders. You need to give your team some context. “Let’s think of some new ideas” is too broad and generic. Better to rephrase your creative challenge into an inspiring “How to…?”. For example: “How can we help more people to live healthier lives by the end of next year?”. Then start capturing all ideas which come up.

Do a brain dump

Every one comes to the session with already so ideas in their head. Start off with a quick “brain dump” to allow your team to empty their heads. Do this in a pretty fast paste. Either by capturing ideas on a flip chart. Or by having the team members write them on sticky notes. Be sure to review these ideas later in your process. There could be some great ideas in here. Or wonderful stepping stones for creating new ones.

Then converge

After developing as many possible solutions to your creative challenge as possible, it comes down to selecting those ideas which have the most potential. First start with formulating the criteria to which the ideas will be screened. This could by key success factors or a certain time constraint. It is okay when the section is based on gut feel. The collective brain of all the brainstorm participants often know what to do. Trust the process. Do spend some time reworking and optimising the selected ideas. Making sure that the output is captured and can easily be explained to someone who wasn’t present during the workshop.


I hope you will have a productive brainstorm with your team. I will be sharing the 4 ground rules of brainstorming with you tomorrow. If you need help from a professional facilitator, please contact me.


Issak says:

18 September 2015 at 09:59

I think that a Western theme would be fun. Lots of people hcvealothes that would fit this theme in their closets. Plus, there isa wonderful Western swing group from Surfside that couldprovide music during the evening. A good old Western cookoutwould be easy to pull off, and fit right in. Maybe we could evenhave hayrides around town with some of the local horsebackriding outfits.

withMartijn says:

23 September 2015 at 14:48

Have fun!

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