Three Ways To Kill a Brainstorming Session

People love brainstorming. It’s fun, gets you great results and for most people, it’s a welcome change in their daily routine. But what if you’ve got an alter ego who hates all of that? Here are three surprisingly common ways your inner demon can kill your next brainstorming session:

Method #1: Make innovation the goal.
Setting innovation as your goal is the best way to keep the brainstorming team floundering. Innovation is abstract and teams need clearly defined goals. Otherwise, they’ll spend countless hours arguing over which ideas are innovative versus iterative. Chances are, the session will end in frustration before the team realizes they were set up for failure from the beginning. By then, it’ll be too late.

Method #2: Give them all the time in the world.
What’s better than an all-day meeting? An week of all-day meetings! While giving the team tons of time to think sounds great, the lack of time constraint also means a lack of necessary motivational pressure. Within hours, teams will slow down their rate of ideation, lose focus and start to second guess their ideas. Let time do your work for you.

Method #3: Just let it happen.
Generally, people are happy to come together and simply brainstorm without a plan. Without one, the session may initially be held together by some organized team members, but ultimately the human brain will start to edge them out. People will begin jumping from topic to topic, iterating on ideas, generating new ideas, tossing in personal preferences and stories, and the session will become more and more chaotic. It will play out like Lord of the Flies but with whiteboards.

It only takes one of these methods to erode the brainstorming session quality and your credibility as the organizer. If you want to keep the status quo demon at bay, flip these methods on their head and ensure brainstorming success.


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