Helping to keep any business vibrant and relevant, brainstorming is extremely important. That being said, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Which is probably why in my years in the design industry I have seen some truly shocking sessions. Sadly, sitting a group of people together, however creative and well-meaning, and hoping for the best does not always make a successful brainstorming session. Brainstorming rarely works if unstructured, resulting in either dumbfounded silence or one participant whose mouth seems to work faster than his brain, leaving little room for anyone else to speak. The truth is that really good brainstorming sessions require guidelines and structure; because even the creative process necessitates a little organisation from time to time.
Which is why I was so impressed with the Brainstorm Deck. Created by the people who brought you the Obama campaign, The Brand Deck which if you’re an avid reader of my blog you’ll remember from the beginning of last year, plus a whole host of other terribly impressive projects, it is a phenomenally useful tool. A truly stupendous invention. Each pack contains 100 cards, with each card having space for a description as well as a drawing. They even boast some inspirational quotes to really get your juices flowing.
Once you have filled in a card, it is time to go round the group with each participant explaining their idea, which is then placed in either the pass or fail column. This is followed by a second round of voting where each participant votes for their favourite idea using a specially designed “love it” card.
So in honour of this wonderful invention, and to add some value for my loyal readers. I have created an insider’s list of top tips and tools that I find can really make a difference during a brainstorming session.
1. Morning meetings
Whilst it may not be easy to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. And getting yourself ready for work may feel like the most odious task in existence. In general, once at work, and having drunk our first coffee the morning hours are when we are at our most productive and some of us creative. Try and arrange meetings between 10 and 11, it should help people feel far more invigorated and responsive plus by that time the caffeine’s probably kicked in.
2. Set a time limit
This is tremendously important. Even a little bit of pressure can go a long way. Make sure the team have a time limit to complete the task, which should help boost productivity and create some fantastic ideas.
3. Include an insider
Not only is this a great life lesson, but bringing someone in from outside your team, who has an entirely different skill set and background could well help to reinvigorate the thought process.
4. Group leader
Whilst Marx may not agree with this statement, sadly a group collective brainstorming session is pretty much bound to fail. Appoint a group leader who will make sure to keep everyone in check and who also conducted a little research beforehand to help facilitate the session.
This is extremely important. Follow up; turn thought into action and make sure feedback from the session is incorporated into your business strategy.
For any questions on brainstorming or with any burning graphic design related queries please feel free to drop me a line.