So you want to shake things up a bit?
If you’re looking for a vibrant way of encouraging the generation of ideas, then brainstorming is a great way to get started.
When a brainstorming session is led with creativity and humor it can be a great imaginative problem solving space and an opportunity to ‘let your hair down.’ People participating for the first time might well feel inadequate and unsure of themselves. Others may be eagerly waiting for an opportunity to speak freely and embrace the creative space. If you’re planning to use brainstorming as a tool, here’s a bit of structure to help you get started and to ‘know your crowd.’
Before leading 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 the session.
The opposite to an invigorating productive brainstorm is a stale space where people repeat old ideas that have been shot down in the past.
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 have never gone anywhere previously.
Identify 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, perhaps they’re hoping that someone will eventually ‘get’ them. Other times people throw out something because they have an issue with management and see this as an opportunity to perhaps poke some fun at them. Someone else could use this free flowing creative safe-space to vent their frustrations. When this occurs, the session leader should be sharp enough to recognize and redirect.
Don’t allow debate to create 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 the 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.
- Brainstorm or storm in a teacup? (leoniehallatinnovationiq.wordpress.com)