For some, the best ideas come to them in the shower. Other times, the ideas require more work, like mining for gold. When you need a flurry of new thinking, brainstorming can be an effective way to gather your best minds and generate multiple ideas in a relatively short spurt.
Working fast can be a challenge, consider these hacks and recommended reading (and watching) for getting the most from your brainstorming sessions.
Apply Thinkertoys. The multiple copies of Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko that we have floating around our agency is proof of the value of this creative-thinking book provides the reader with hints, tricks, tips, tales, and puzzles for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Some of the techniques can be leveraged in brainstorming sessions.
Provide psychological safety. Identified by Google as one of the keys to a successful team, this healthy dynamic offers individuals the feeling of respect and acceptance. Psychological safety allows the team greater freedom from the fear of ridicule and rejection and encourages them to take risks and be vulnerable; two key factors when you want them to express their biggest, boldest, brightest ideas.
Play with toys. Brainstorming toys can make productive use of fidgeting, keep team members engaged in the discussion, and deter boredom, even if their fingers are twirling, clicking, squishing or tapping a toy.
Encourage doodling. Like fidgeting, doodling passively engages the mind, aids in concentration, and promotes creative problem solving. Watch the TED Talk on the power of doodling and embrace your inner doodler.
Gamestorm. Inspiring new ideas from your team may require new ways of thinking. Gamestorming is a book that outlines visual-thinking techniques for business and provides 80 games to help your team communicate better and generate new ideas. The book is one component of the author, Sunni Brown’s Doodle Revolution featured in the TED Talk above.
Go outside. Fresh air makes everything better. Being outside can lower stress levels and boost brain power to create the ideal condition for making new connections and solving problems for your challenger brand.
Take a walking brainstorm. Not only is walking healthier than sitting, but it the increased blood flow and movement can boost energy and create a more relaxed atmosphere that promotes the sharing of ideas and collaboration. Jot down ideas on a small notepad or in Evernote or your phone’s notes tool or record the meeting on your phone. Bonus points if you take a walk outside! Here’s more on the benefits of walking meetings and don’t miss this short three-minute TED Talk.
I hope these tips inspire you and your team to invent the next big thing or solve your challenger brand’s nagging problem.
If all else fails to evoke genius, you can always try the brainstorming glass.