Let’s start by thinking of the last “brainstorm” you were a part of. Did no one talk for the first five minutes? Did one person take the group insanely off course? Maybe you even (gasp) nodded off. Brainstorming is supposed to be one of the awesome and rewarding benefits of working at a creative advertising agency, but the traditional “lack of a road map” approach can leave great ideas in the dust. Keep reading for tricks to make your next brainstorm super fun AND functional.
1 A little prep goes a long way: Meet with a small core team of 2-3 people for 15 minutes to develop a rough plan. This should include discussing an easy goal you hope to accomplish, as well as making a short assignment for attendees as a starting point. For example, a goal could be as easy as “generating as many possible ideas regarding summer and beer” and a quick assignment would be to have attendees share what they did on their last vacation to get the ball rolling.
2 Freedom within a framework: All ideas are good ideas in a brainstorm (more about that in Tip 3) but not having ANY rules is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, you’ll want to set time commitments for the duration of the meeting. Stick to three small different exercises that focus people’s attention, rather than having a free flow conversation for an hour. Attendees will have fun with the variety and it keeps the energy up, preventing that mid-brainstorm stalemate.
3 Quantity not quality: Focus on generating as many ideas as possible, not necessarily evaluating them at this time. Don’t pull out a bazooka because someone’s idea may not fit exactly, it could inspire another idea or be so crazy that it might work!
4 Get out: A work task doesn’t always have to happen at work. Get people in the creative spirit by breaking up the monotony of the work day and taking a mini field trip. Do a brainstorm over lunch, in a park or choose a location relative to the project at hand. For instance, visiting a pet store followed by a brainstorm in a dog park would be a great way to start a brainstorm for a dog food.