Doing Brainstorming, Right!


Brainstorming is both art and science

Working with other consultants on the $100K Business Makeover means we do a lot brainstorming.  And despite with many think there is right way of doing it.  

The key to effective brainstorming: Not stepping on other people’s ideas.

And there is one caveat: You are not the smartest person in the room.

Here are some steps to have a productive brainstorming session:

  1. Prep your session. Establish criteria to rate the ideas that are generated.
  2. Identify the goal.  Should should be stated as clearly as you can in one sentence.  That’s it.  think of it as the session mission statement.  It should contain the what (a specific outcome) and the why (future state). Send this out to the team in advance so they can start gathering their thoughts or do any research before the session. At the beginning of the session restate this goal.
  3. Keep in short and sweet. Brainstorming sessions should never last more than an hour without some sort of break. They should not be too large, usually between five or seven people; diversity helps, so bringing in people from other areas is encouraged. And finally set ground rules: no critiquing; no editing; and, most importantly, DO build on each other’s ideas.
  4. Have a way to capture notes and ideas.  Have plenty of post-it notes, flip charts, colored markers, tape, and small colored labels. And don’t forget to take a picture with your smartphone before you leave the room.
  5. Know your overall outcome:
  • Our ideal solution has to be actionable within the next 30 – 90 days.
  • The ideal solution solves a specific problem
  • Identify stakeholders and key influencers that can help or detract from the ideal solutions

The brainstorming process is a lot of fun and can bring out some creative ideas. Be aware not to take a Laissez-faire attitude or a casual approach.  Taking time away from the day to day work is costly and the last thing you want to do is never implement or act on after the session is over.  A guarantee way to deflate innovative thought and engagement is to waste peoples time on things that don’e product an outcome.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a no cost, not obligation, strategy session for more ideas for your company.




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