Take your brainstorm out of its normal habitat
Don’t underestimate the power of a change of scenery. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel like you are constantly on the go, finishing one task only to start another, and when a brainstorming session appears in your diary, it immediately falls somewhere between ‘finishing a six-month strategy’ and ‘pitching in a media angle’ on your to-do list, rather than you allowing some time beforehand to start the creative juices flowing.
For lack of a better word, it can become like clockwork – show up, produce ideas, leave.
Shake off that ‘stale’ feeling and take a new approach to your next brainstorm by taking the team outdoors and into nature for a pow-wow. This will allow busy minds the opportunity to do something different and completely switch off ‘office mode’ – leaving the phone lines, email notifications and other interruptions behind – whilst unlocking the creative space in their minds.
Try something left of field
In the late 1990s, Robert Rasmussen, was asked by then-LEGO Group CEO, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, to explore how LEGO could help play a role in harnessing a companies strategic planning, communication, and creative thinking. What evolved from his research was a concept that has since gone on to feature in the boardrooms of leading companies across the globe including Coca-Cola, Toyota, Google and NASA – the LEGO Serious Play (LSP) methodology.
So what is this methodology and how does it work? In laymen’s terms, it is essentially the concept of using ‘play’ to stimulate creative thinking in a new way – in this case, asking your team a variety of questions and having them use LEGO to communicate their response, whislt unlocking their subconscious mind. Read more here.
Now, I’m not suggesting we all go and purchase a set of LEGO for our office, however I am suggesting we take a step back and look at approaching thinking via ways that gives creativity the opportunity to run free – PLAY!
Another, more simple ‘game,’ could be word association or a drawing exercise (i.e. in 30 seconds, draw your interpretation of X).
Don’t be afraid to regroup
The first brainstorm doesn’t have to be the only opportunity for staff to put forward their creative ideas, it really should just be the beginning of the process.
Instead of booking a brainstorm the day before the concepts are due to begin, give the team two opportunities to bring their ideas to the table – one a week out, followed up by another brainstorming session three days later. This extra time to digest the brief and refine their ideas will ultimately produce a more developed concept and save you time having to go fishing for it yourself!