A content creators dream is a brief that comes with minimal guidelines as it provides freedom to explore themes and topics. The situation that requires brainstorming can be anything- either the client has some ideas but is not sure how to take it forward, is looking for a fresh perspective or sometimes even wants something completely different from what has been done before.
However, every coin has two sides and the biggest drawback of this is the amount of variations that will pour in when the ideating begins.
Check out the tips below on running an amazingly productive brainstorming session!
1. Include a diverse team
Looking at people who have different skill sets and job roles in your organisation will give variety and freshness to the ideas that come out of the session. Even people who have no idea about the kind of ideating required should be included in this session.
Brief your team, and ensure that they know that no prior experience or expertise is required, but active participation is the most important. Hand out notes or create a pointer system that briefly tells everyone about the client and points that must be included or direction they need. Make sure the outcome of the session is clear to all before you begin.
2. Time it!
The session begins where you give people sheets of paper, and set the timer to eight minutes. Within this time they have to think of 8 different ideas. The idea can be simple, crazy and need not necessarily make sense. There should also be no discussion at this point of time.
3. Circle of sharing
Once the time is up, begin to share the ideas. This is not a formal meeting, but more of an informal sharing space. As people start sharing, bucket similar ideas together and ask people to add their opinions on shaping these ideas to be bigger, better and more efficient. It is important to set the norm that no idea is a bad idea, so that people feel comfortable sharing. As a facilitator, it is important to appreciate ideas and boost the morale of the participants. As buckets and themes are formed, stack them together on the wall, to give a more visual representation of the ideas.
4. Build on ideas
Now that you have a variety of ideas in front of you, ask people to pick one themes or ideas they liked the most, and take about five or ten minutes to think deeper about how these ideas can be magnified. This can be expressed with the team, so that the direction forward is also established.
5. Don’t forget the gratitude!
Whether the idea gets accepted or not, people in your team or organisation have given time and creative effort to your session. Not only is it important to communicate to them that you appreciate the effort, but also talk about how these ideas will be used. In case it does get accepted by the client, make sure you share the news with your brainstorming team! This will give them the confidence in their ideas and also let them know that you value their opinions.
6. Test and re-try
Each and every idea can either take off or be buried despite the quality of the idea itself. It is more dependent on the need of the client and the selling factor. Collate these ideas in a systematic form and present it to the client. Then, depending on the feedback you can either take it forward, or work on the ideas. Sometimes, even trying the whole session again can be fruitful. It helps to have a different set of people, so that the ideas will be different. If you are going ahead with the same set of people, you can change the prompt or give a different question to start the exercise so that the results will be different.
Most importantly, remember the circle of learning and getting better never ends. No matter what direction your session goes, you and your team will benefit by learning something or the other. All that is required, is the right mindset to identify these learnings and use them in an efficient manner.
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