Brainstorming is the most potent way for any organization to come up with effective ideas. A brainstorming session is what makes ideation very contagious and every member joins in. However, brainstorming also takes time and pulls people away from their own productive work.
This means, if your organization is not making the best of a brainstorming session – it is time wasted.
Improving the ideas and reducing time wastage during a brainstorming session is critical to enhancing productivity at the office.
So, what can you do?
Prepare for the Session
A little preparation goes a long way in saving time at a brainstorming session. Everyone who is invited to the brainstorming session needs to be made aware of these questions –
- What’s it about?
- What’s the agenda?
- What kind of ideas are you looking for?
- Background information that provides context to the need of ideas
Ensure that everyone comes prepared with some ideas to get the brainstorming session rolling.
The more people in a brainstorming session, the better – more ideas are contributed. While the best brainstorming session happens face-to-face with everyone in the same physical location, I’ve taken part in some amazing brainstorming sessions over Skype and Google hangouts. This is a good way to bridge distance and time when people in the group are miles away.
No Bad Ideas
The moment you start marking ideas as good or bad, your brainstorming session has failed. People may become afraid to give their ideas because they may be judged as bad. More importantly, I have come across team members who had wonderful ideas, but were just bad at presenting them. All ideas should be nurtured. You never know which one offers an innovative and workable solution.
Who’s taking down the ideas?
This is an amateur mistake I’ve seen some professional organizations make. You need to have someone writing down the ideas. Don’t expect people to remember the ideas that are being said. Better yet, it would be beneficial to have a board where all the ideas are written so that everyone can see them.
A time limit does two things.
- It specifies a time when it gets done, so everyone can go back to their work.
- It applies pressure on everyone to give in their best ideas before the clock runs out.
A brainstorming session that is more than 2 hours is too long and will reduce the productivity at the office.
End it Well
Even a good brainstorming session has a habit of just fizzling out. Try to end your brainstorming session well. What does that include?
- Wrapping up with all ideas
- Assigning any work to the team members to be done
- Final thoughts from any team member
Ending it well ensures that everything, the ideas and tasks, is on the table.
Make the best out of your brainstorming sessions and yet, keep the office as productive as always with these tips.