Start Brainstorming: How to Get Creative Ideas Flowing

To determine the solution for any issue your company is facing, the brainstorming process can prove to be quite helpful, but how can you get the creative ideas flowing? Read on to learn how you can create an environment that fosters new ideas and creativity.

The first part to any brainstorming session is making sure you have a good area to do it. Find a room free of distractions that has some way for you to record your ideas. This could be a white board, a projector, or even just pen and paper. Now, you need to find a group. Try to keep it between three and six people. You want to make sure they have different personalities and come from different disciplines. Five people all with marketing degrees aren’t going to have the same variety of ideas as five people with different degrees.

To start the session, appoint a person to record the ideas and manage the discussion. This person should just record ideas and needs to lay down the rules of the session. In general, people need to know that they should mention any solution to the problem they have no matter how outlandish it seems. Other people must refrain from commenting on the validity of the idea and simply build on it or remain silent. Each person should speak if they have an idea, and the moderator should do his or her best to enable this.

If you’re having trouble generating ideas in this informal of a way, you can try a few other brainstorming methods. In the round-robin style session, members sit in a circle. One member starts off the session by mentioning a solution to the issue at hand. The person to his or her right then contributes his thought. This goes on until every one has spoken. Then the group has a short discussion about all the opinions voiced. Try this style of brainstorming if people are hesitant to talk or get bullied by more verbal participants.

Another technique I recommend is the Crawford Slip Method. In this method, members of the group write their ideas on pieces of paper and turn them in. This gives a large variety of ideas and allows people to feel free from judgment because it’s anonymous. I like to take this exercise a step further. After receiving participants’ ideas, you shuffle them up and have the group pass them around. If someone likes an idea, they simply put a mark on the paper. The papers with the most marks are then what you brainstorm on further.

After coming up with numerous ideas from your sessions, try to find common themes among them to build a plan for tackling your problem.

Endrit Kosta is a content marketing specialist at UBM Advanstar and an entrepreneur and marketing consultant. He owns Market Me Management, and received his MBA from Baldwin Wallace University in 2013.

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