- Define a goal before the meeting. Send out an agenda in advance to let team members mull over the purpose of the session so they have time to come in with a few good ideas.
- Set ground rules. If all ideas are good or you’re going for a “blue sky” atmosphere, let everyone know that so they feel confident to share. Whatever your ground rules are, state them at the top so everyone understands, and feel free to chime in if the rules are being broken.
- Encourage openness. Sometimes, brainstorming sessions fail because team members feel pressured to conform to certain ideas on the spot. Set a tone of non-judgement and invite all ideas to be voiced in a comfortable setting.
- Don’t discuss or problem solve ideas. Set this as one your ground rules. Problem solving will hamper the creative free flow of ideas and eat away at the timelines. Capture all concepts first and then explore further.
- Assign a facilitator or scribe. This person can capture all the ideas on the board. They will be facilitating and not part of the brainstorming itself and can ensures all team voices are heard equally. They can helps the group on track, take notes, assign follow up and next steps.
- Set timetables. Give everyone thirty seconds and go around the table and capture one word ideas or one phrase ideas. Go around the room as often as possible to capture as many ideas as possible within your set time parameters.
- Get creative. If your group needs help to get started, play improv games, doodle, stand and walk while pitching, or create mood boards to help the team get out of their heads. Encourage everyone to offer their own ways of busting out of a creative rut, and apply it to the group dynamic.
- Don’t decide on the spot. Plan for reflection time for the team to think and react to the ideas they heard, then ask them to share their top choices. If scheduling a second meeting is not possible, then take a 10 minute-break. Allow the team to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and reflect, and then come back together to discuss decision and executing on the chosen ideas.
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