The people in your business or workplace can be the best source of creative ideas and solutions.
One of the most effective ways to draw out ideas from people is to use brainstorming. Brainstorming helps with problem-solving by getting creative ideas from a group.
You can bring people together and resolve difficult problems at work, to offer better support to customers, or to grow your business.
The idea is to focus on a single, defined problem. Your group then comes up with as many ideas as possible to resolve it. To get the best out of a brainstorming session, here are some approaches that will help you generate ideas from people.
More is Better
When it comes to brainstorming, quantity is more important than quality. At first, the goal should be to generate as many ideas as possible.
Even though many ideas may turn out to be nonsensical, they pave the way for actionable solutions. It’s important to produce as many ideas as possible, large or small, practical or not. Don’t waste any time discussing the merits of any contribution at first. Simply, start the brainstorming session with the question and let the ideas fly.
When you aim for quantity, you’ll also get a variety of opinions and ideas. You can always choose the best amongst them later.
Don’t Filter or Judge
Brainstorming is not about generating only the best or correct ideas. It’s a session where people are allowed to explore all their thoughts around a problem.
Try to ensure that when your group is generating ideas that they aren’t filtering their thoughts. Encourage people to give out ideas as fast as they can think of them. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or irrelevant some ideas are. The point is to generate ideas without any kind of judgment on its value.
Not judging or filtering ideas s important because it removes hesitation in participating. It makes the session fun, and it allows people to finally create a space for brilliant ideas to come out. Very often, ideas that are often dammed up by criticism and filtering.
Welcome Unusual Ideas
As an extension of the previous approach, you can get more creative ideas by encouraging unusual ones.
Ideas can range from writing on the moon to dispatching free themed cupcakes to all your customers. By welcoming unusual and provocative ideas, you make way for good ideas that can work. You’ll be able to get creative solutions to support a difficult customer or generate ideas to create a new blog. Unusual ideas push people to think outside the box, which can lead to a new way of thinking.
Brainstorming is usually a group activity, but you can get people to brainstorm individually too. It has the advantage of being flexible and makes people more comfortable with the activity of idea-generation.
You can use two techniques for brainstorming that are also applicable to group brainstorming sessions.
Doodling: Doodling as described by Sunni Brown in The Doodle Revolution uses visuals and drawing to problem solve and generate ideas. You can doodle to turn abstract thoughts into images to find solutions. Doodling is a great way to generate insights in group and individual settings.
Freewriting: Mark Levy, the author of Accidental Genius, has helped popularize freewriting. The idea is to set a timer and keep writing until the timer runs out. You’re not allowed to edit or stop until the time is up. This results in a free flow of thoughts that provide unique solutions and insights.
Using doodling and freewriting is a great way to brainstorm at an individual level. They have applications in groups too and are another way to solve problems.
Refine and Select the Best Ideas
Once you’ve had an intense brainstorming session and have more ideas than you know what to do with, you can start culling the ideas given.
Discard the ones that are obviously unhelpful or irrelevant and narrow down on actionable ideas. It’s important to be aware that there will be ideas that can be relevant for other topics. Save them for future use.
Bring Out Your People’s Creative Best With Brainstorming
The people you work with will be the best source of ideas for your business. You can leverage their different backgrounds and experiences to generate creative ideas. Your people can be your problem solvers.
By using effective brainstorming methods, business owners and managers will be able to resolve problems with creative solutions.