Top Brainstorming Ideas for Your Team

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Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how to tap the creativity of your team with these productive brainstorming ideas.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

brainstorming ideas

In Review – Top Brainstorming Ideas for Your Team

If two brains are better than one, then the more brains there are, the better things get, especially when it comes to brainstorming. That’s what Jennifer said and she knows from experience.

Brainstorming is simply a spontaneous way to get a group to discuss ideas, without judgement. Let it all hang out. Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks — that sort of thing. So you can see why it’s best to have as many people participate as possible.

Before getting into her suggestions for facilitating the brainstorming process, Jennifer thought a short history of the origin of brainstorming would be helpful.

Related: 20 Icebreakers to Make Your Next Meeting Fun

The Origin of Brainstorming

The roots of brainstorming can be traced back to the advertising world of the 1940s. An advertising executive by the name of Alex Osborn was frustrated with the creative output of his employees, and he felt there could be a better way to tap the creativity of his team. So, he began a period of research and experimentation on ways to improve the creative development of ideas.

In 1953, he published his findings in a book called Applied Imagination. In it, he wrote about how group brainstorming is a more efficient way to improve idea creation when compared to individuals working alone. However, to be effective, the group must defer judgement and reach for quantity. And with that, a legendary collaboration exercise was born.

Top Brainstorming Ideas

Jennifer offered 10 ways to guide your brainstorming session to success.

  1. Defer Judgement: This cannot be stressed enough. As Jennifer quoted, “You cannot create and destroy at the same time.” Therefore, establish an environment where ideas can flourish. There will come time latter for culling.
  2. Start Individually: While groups generate better ideas than a lone thinker, you’ll still want your group to prep for the brainstorming session. Get them thinking about the topic by themselves before you assemble the group.
  3. Follow with Group Session: You’ll notice that as the group starts thinking collectively, they’ll build a creative energy that drives the session. Allow it to further the ideas and see how they develop.
  4. Allow Ridiculous Ideas: As the session takes flight there will be some crazy ideas from the group. Let them be. This means your group is thinking outside the box, which is where the real creative ideas come from.
  5. Transference from Other Industries: Don’t limit your group brainstorming to the confines of the industry with which they are familiar. Other disciplines can provide unexpected entryways into new, creative ideas that can be applied to your work.
  6. Let Ideas Hang: Whatever idea is generated, give it a chance to seed the room. See if that idea has roots on which others can build.
  7. Have Fun: Yes, it’s work, but it should be fun. Ideas come from a loose approach, not rigidity. This process should be fun, so make sure it is.
  8. Bridle the Extroverts and Unleash the Introverts: Every group has those people who thrive in the spotlight and others who prefer to recede into the shadows. Your job is to keep the extroverts in check, while giving a platform to the introverts, whose ideas might be great, only they’ve never gotten attention.
  9. Set a Safe Environment: To make sure everyone is heard, you have to set rules, facilitate the process and get people to participate with respect for others.
  10. Be Thankful: To effectively conclude a brainstorming session, you should thank everyone who participated. Even if their ideas don’t go anywhere, you’ll want to acknowledge their input and note that you can see how their idea could work. It might not, of course, but the next one they come up with could, but only if you make them feel a part of the process.

Pro-Tip: Once the brainstorming session is over, have your team pursue their ideas together with collaboration software. They can attach drafts, ideas and more to keep the creative juices flowing.

Take It Further: After all of those great ideas have been finalized, you’re going to need a process to collect and organize them. That’s the key to better brainstorming.

Transcription:

Today, we’re talking about the top brainstorming ideas for your team. Well, on projects, we commonly find ourselves seeking ideas and solutions for problems or situations that we find ourselves in. You’ve heard that two brains are better than one? Well, I feel like, the more brains, the better.

So, today we wanna talk about the group brainstorming. I wanna also insert a little bit about the origin of the group brainstorming, and I wanna share some ideas that I’ve used for my team.

So, first of all, let’s talk about brainstorming and what it is. So, brainstorming produces ideas or solutions by holding a spontaneous group discussion.

So, a little bit about the genesis or the origin of the group brainstorming, it started around the 1940s. There’s a guy, Alex Osborn, who was an advertising executive, and he was frustrated with the creative output from his team. So, he started studying and researching ways to improve it.

So, around 1953, he published his first book called “Applied Imagination,” and what he discusses, the group brainstorming process, and how it’s more efficient and effective than just the individual one.

So, he has two main concepts that he talks about to be more effective within the group. So, the first one is to defer judgment, and the second one is to reach for a quantity of ideas, the more the better.

So taking that, some of the top brainstorming ideas I’ve used for my team is based on that, is defer judgment. You may have heard the quote that you cannot destroy and create at the same time.

So, you wanna allow your team to generate and create ideas without being able to say whether those ideas are gonna work, so save that process for later.

So, I believe it’s better to start with the individual. Allow everyone on the team or in the group to think about ideas that they have for themselves and give them time to think. Then you take those ideas, and then you follow up with the group session.

So, let everybody contribute their ideas and from that sparks synergy. And with that, just allow ridiculous ideas and let things flow out of the box.

Also, think about transference of ideas from other industries, maybe things you’ve seen in other industries and how to apply for what you’re doing. Let the ideas just hang. It’s not required that you determine if an idea is going to work or not.

Maybe let it seed and percolate a little bit and see where it goes. And then, I’ve always found to have fun. Allow laughter and people to really enjoy the brainstorming session. Again, sparks more, the quantity of ideas.

So, here’s a good one, bridle the extroverts and unleash the introverts. So, you don’t want the extroverts to do all the talking, let the introverts have their voice too. So, you also wanna set a safe environment and establish rules.

You want to facilitate with the process and participate with respect. I’ve always found when people share ideas, to have everyone in the group say, “Thank you.” And acknowledge that idea, and say, “Hey, I could see how that could work.”

If you just allow the possibility, again, but the other part of the process where you determine if those ideas will work, is a different process. But these are some of the ideas that have helped with my team and I hope they’ll help you too.

But if you need a tool that can help you with your brainstorming process, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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