Brainstorming

Brainstorming: How to Unlock Your Idea Generating Potential

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Brainstorming is the creative bread and butter that gives our team at P4 Group the space to offer our clients an out-of-the-box approach to projects and campaigns.

We believe the team brainstorming process is THE best way to generate ideas. Why?

1. Brainstorms utilise a diverse group of thinkers. Different teams and disciplines, from various backgrounds, bring unique perspectives.
2. They provide a creative-thinking environment where the focus is on quantity of ideas.

To help you facilitate better brainstorms and spark the creativity and imagination that exists inside every employee, we wanted to share the tips and tricks for each of our key brainstorming elements – the environment, the rules, the brief and the session.

The Environment – Create a Space Where Ideas Flow

  • Low stress environments encourage creative thinking – host your brainstorms somewhere detached from the busy office environment.
  • Minimise distractions, as concentration empowers the production of ideas.
  • Generate high trust in the space, participants should feel safe to express themselves.

The Rules – Ensure You Get the Most out of Your Sessions

  • Have no more than eight participants (and one or two facilitators). You’ll find ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ relates heavily to brainstorms. A smaller number of people means attendees feel more inclined to actively participate (and it’s harder to be a bystander!).
  • Any idea is a good idea – what did we say earlier about generating high trust?
  • Define a set time and finish promptly. If participants know the brainstorm will go for 45 minutes and no longer, they’ll be more committed during that time-frame, knowing their day will remain on track.
  • Have an informative brief. Which leads us to…

The Brief – Inform Participants Just Enough

Email a brief through to your participants before the session so they have a chance to get across the purpose of the session. Beware that too much information, e.g. budget and constraints, could actually damage the flow of ideas. Key briefing information should include:

  • What do you/the client want to achieve? (i.e. positive media coverage, creative activation ideas)
  • Who is your target audience?
    • Answer questions like ‘What’s their drink of choice?’, ‘What car do they drive?’. Creating a persona is a fun and visual way of thinking about the target audience.
  • Any related facts or data (i.e. how does your target audience consume media?)

The Session – Unlocking the Power of the Collective

You decide how to best structure the brainstorm depending on what you’re discussing. We’ve put together some tips to unlock those big creative ideas:

  • Changing gear from a busy day at work to getting in the ideas zone can be tricky. Conduct a warm up to get the creative juices flowing. One is ‘Fat Chance’ – it involves coming up with five solutions to an impossible problem in two minutes. Any ideas on how to stop Global Warming by tonight?
  • Record all initial ideas on a whiteboard or butcher’s paper, but get more interactive as the frequency of ideas drops by bringing in the holy-grail of the brainstorm world – post-its!
  • By using post-its, each participant can simultaneously write ideas down, rather than having to compete with others for air-time.
  • Review each participants’ post-its and categorise ideas into groups, helping you to build on original ideas and ‘amplify’ them. Amplification thought starters could include video, social media, market research, partnerships… the list is endless.
  • If your brainstorm becomes dull, consider the ‘you’re fired’ tactic. ‘What idea would get you fired?’ This leads to some extreme suggestions, laughs, and energy. And you can peel back the idea to something more appropriate.

With a low-stress environment, clear rules, an informative brief and an engaging session structure, a brainstorm can truly unlock your team’s idea-generating potential.

Do you have a tip for unlocking a team’s creative thinking throughout the brainstorming process? If so, please share this post below and add your thoughts – we’d love to hear it!

Blog post by Hannah Clayton, an Account Coordinator at P4 Group