6 Techniques to Get Better Brainstorming Ideas from Your Team
Coming up with new ideas isn’t easy, and brainstorming sessions aren’t always productive. Ever had a brainstorming
session where you left feeling like your team didn’t come up with any good ideas? These types of sessions can be
draining and feel like a waste of time.
On the other hand, successful brainstorming sessions feel empowering and revitalizing! So, how do you have more
productive brainstorming sessions and help your team come up with better ideas? I’m glad you asked!
Below are 6 techniques to get better brainstorming ideas form your team:
1) Keep the meeting under 30 minutes
This technique only works if all of the participants are prepared for the meeting (see techniques 2 & 3). To create the best environment for brainstorming with a limited amount of time, enforce a no-laptop and no-cell phone rule. Also, limit the off-topic conversations or rants.
When we hold meetings like these, one team member will function as a moderator who keeps conversations on track and ensures that the limited time is used efficiently. It may sound like a strange idea, but ever since we started using this method, our meetings are shorter, are much more productive, and we leave the meetings feeling pumped!
2) Provide context and goals well before the meeting
Give the team at least 2 days to prepare before the brainstorming session. Provide reading/background material that will help give context to the meeting. Also, describe the ideal outcome of the meeting. This will provide the team with the scope of what you’re trying to accomplish during the meeting.
3) Ask people to come prepared with some ideas
As we all know, ideas rarely come to our minds when we’re thinking about the problem we’re trying to solve – Ideas often pop-up when we least expect them to. So, allow the team a few days to mull it over and have time to come up with a few ideas on their own time. These ideas will be more thought-through than most ideas that are thought of on the spot during a meeting. This way, the meeting will start off with strong ideas from the beginning!
4) Be prepared to ditch the meeting altogether.
Sometimes in-person meetings aren’t the best route to take. Instead of an in-person meeting, you can utilize an online document sharing service, like Google Docs, that will allow multiple people to contribute to a document of brainstorming ideas. This allows people to contribute on their own time, as ideas occur to them.
5) Provide a place for anonymous submissions
Not all team members enjoy presenting their ideas in front of the whole team, and it would be a shame to miss out on great ideas because someone doesn’t feel comfortable sharing in person. It’s a good idea to provide a place for anonymous idea submissions before and after the meeting, for those who don’t feel comfortable speaking up during a meeting.
At Alkali, we have a box called “The Idea Incubator,” where team members can submit anonymous (or signed) ideas throughout the workday. If someone signs their name to an idea that is implemented, they are rewarded for the idea!
6) Know that some brainstorming sessions might not produce any good ideas
Sometime brainstorming sessions don’t yield any good ideas, and that’s okay. That does not mean that the meeting was a waste of time. However, it would be a waste of time (and other resources) to pursue an idea that isn’t worth doing just because there wasn’t a better idea presented.
The first brainstorming session might not have yielded any good ideas, but the meeting probably caused the team to start thinking of other ways to solve the problem. Once the team has some distance from the first meeting, and their creative juices have time to start flowing again, a second round of brainstorming might yield something great!
Looking for more brainstorming techniques? Check out Hubspot’s 12 Brainstorming Techniques for Unearthing Better Ideas From Your Team.