Ideation is addictive. If you are a creative, then you know this well. You probably love coming up with something new. Personally, I love team ideation. I’m a firm believer that teams always create better than individuals. There are a multitude of benefits that come from working together in a creative environment. Here are just a few:
- Increases number of Ideas
- Enhances Ideas
- Saves Time
- Improves Team Morale
- Better Product for the Client
I think the best environment for team ideation is a great brainstorming session. Those sessions bring out the best in your whole team, and they are a great reminder that the product always gets better with the collective mind of your team.
Today, I want to give you the 5 essential elements of a great brainstorming session.
To create a great brainstorming session, you need to choose a space that encourages creativity. Maybe that means your meetings need to be off-site from your office. Maybe you need to do a brainstorming retreat. Maybe you need to choose a local coffee shop with a conference room. However you do it, you probably need to find something different from a traditional stark-white, sterile space.
Boards are a crucial tool in the process of brainstorming. You have to have some way to display the ideas that have already been presented. Whether you use a white board, story board or a chalk board, keeping the ideas in front of your team is a must if you want them to create better ideas. You have to choose a location with a board or set up your own, because getting ideas out of your head and on display is a catalyst to create creativity. Find a board for your next session and put those ideas on display.
3. Umbrella of Compassion
I can’t remember who originally put this idea in my head, but I remember that early on in my experience with brainstorming I worked with a leader that constantly used this phrase. Basically, it means that during the brainstorming process there are no bad ideas. Members of the team simply put out the ideas in their head and judgment is reserved for later. Sooner or later the umbrella of compassion will be removed, but for a certain period of time any idea is welcome. What I saw during umbrella of compassion times during brainstorming was that bad ideas became jumping off points for good ideas. Try putting up the umbrella in your next meeting.
Not everyone likes to write, but someone has to write. Whether the leader or a designated person with good handwriting is the one to write, someone has to be the scribe during a brainstorming session. If you have the capability, you could find someone with an administrative mind who can organize your thoughts once they are out there. Getting someone outside of your team also ensures that you get the full creative potential of your people. You have to find someone who can put the ideas together in such a way that they will make sense to your team later.
5. Action Plan
If ideation is addictive, action is imperative. Ideas with no follow through are worse than no ideas at all. Who is in charge of making sure that your ideas come to life? Take a few minutes at the end of your brainstorming session to define the next steps in the process of implementation. Your creatives might not enjoy this part as much, but it is absolutely necessary in the action process. Assign necessary tasks to the right people. Create deadlines for completion. Define the point person for the action plan. Without an action plan, the creative process is broken.
Here is my hope. I hope you have incredible team brainstorming sessions. I hope that you can put these five essentials into practice. I hope you come away with the best products in your industry.
How have you seen these essential elements at work in your sessions? Did I miss any essentials?