The success of a new product or a marketing campaign depends on one key aspect of work culture: brainstorming sessions. Unfortunately, the reality is that ideation meetings rarely have those eureka moments or the winning concepts everybody desperately wants. In fact, in most instances, such meetings only drain the life out of employees. Brainstorming sessions are messy precisely because you’re dealing with idea generation. It is never a linear process, so it’s so frustrating all the time. It will never be called “brainstorming” for no reason.
The key to managing the messiness of a brainstorming session is to play by a set of rules. If you follow these guidelines, you can guarantee a more effective session:
1. Frame the discussion
The ideas your employees will generate largely depend on how you’re framing the subject at hand. For instance, if you’re brainstorming for a marketing campaign, framing the topic as “How do we go viral online?” would produce different insights compared to “How do we maintain brand credibility?” It’s important to be clear at communicating the problem and the objective of the session because that will set the tone of the discussion and give your employees a mental sifter, through which they can filter out their ideas. Give the framing some serious thought before gathering your employees for a huddle. If you’ll be assigning a person to facilitate the discussion, consult with them how they’re planning to structure the discussion. You both should be on the same page. Remember to pick a person who’s skillful not only in framing the discussion but also in keeping the talk within that frame.
2. Be aware of the surroundings
Creativity is largely influenced by your environment. If your employees are exposed to the same things every brainstorming session that you have, then it will be less likely that they have new, fresh ideas. Take your employees to a new space to break the monotony and spur new ways of thinking. Aside from a different environment, make sure that your space is also equipped with tools for creativity: big whiteboards, writable walls, comfortable seats, warm floors, biophilic design, etc. Check out emerging flexible office spaces and see if their design and amenities can support your brainstorming needs. In Fort Lauderdale, conference rooms that commercial buildings offer are well-designed aesthetically and functionally perfect for any business size or type. You might want to consider these spaces.
3. Treat ideas with respect
Ideas are very fragile. That’s why it’s important to handle them with so much care. This means avoiding the habit of dismissing ridiculous concepts. Give ideas the benefit of the doubt, and try to unpack them. Believe it or not, most ridiculous ideas turn out to be the ones that capture markets, sell products, and create new businesses. Of course, this doesn’t mean agreeing to every idea thrown on the table. In fact, you should encourage your employees to challenge and critique ideas to avoid groupthink. When you twist, turn, and stretch concepts, you eventually find a rare gem of an idea.
Ideation meetings are messy. However, there are many ways to keep them organized and make them more meaningful for everyone. Remember these strategies as you plan and execute your next brainstorming session.