Managing Brainstorming Sessions

A brain storm leader needs to tap into each team members potential

I believe in brainstorming and that when led with some creativity and humor,  it can be a great imaginative problem solving space. Before you lead a session, it’s important to know what you want to achieve and to ensure that the best person is in the directors seat to lead that session.

The flip side to an invigorating productive brainstorm is a stale space where people try to sell old ideas that have been shot down in the past.

If you’re leading the brainstorm, it’s important to get your team to be open to developing fresh thoughts and not simply churning ideas that have been floating around and never gone anywhere in the past.

Make sure you have identified the right question / problem statement to brainstorm in order to provide a fresh flood of ideas and new energy.

Sometimes someone will throw out an idea that’s just a slight variation of something discussed in the past because they believe that there’s a reason to merit that direction. Other times people throw out something because they have an issue with management or someone else and will use this free flowing creative safe-space to vent. A good leader will recognize the difference between the two and maintain the ‘safe space’ by acknowledging the input and moving on.

The brainstorm space is not where ideas are turned into issues of debate, potentially leading to a contentious space where people become defensive.

In the words of Bob Marley

“Say you just can’t live that negative way,
If you know what I mean;
Make way for the positive day”

A brainstorm team that’s kept focused, happy, playful and respectful is ideal. That’s why a brains storm leader needs to be someone who can respond instinctively and manage personalities in order for each person to effectively contribute. It’s a tricky role and it’s often thought that the most innovative and inventive person should be sitting in the team and not leading the session. But a snappy thinker brimming with ideas will instinctively fire questions and provoke the groups thinking by knowing how to provoke a little constructive insanity and deconstructionist logic.

Of course that’s not always true either. If your leader loves to see their own ideas carried out and has little time for exploring others ideas – the creative Machiavelli’s, you’ll be in trouble. The leader can contribute ideas but should also be a keen listener, passionate about finding the magic amongst all the creative connections the group makes. They will link thoughts, see patterns that are going nowhere, open new doors for group think and be the catalyst for expressive productivity.

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About Leonie Hall

I'm on a mission to make training information and resources accessible so you can Keep Climbing!

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