How to Run an Effective Brainstorming Session and Stimulate Creative Thinking
There are wonderful creative thinking techniques you can use to get everyone thinking better in your organization. A good brainstorming session allows you to harness the best ideas of everyone to make the company better.
Holding a Brainstorming Session
The keys to holding a brainstorming session are simple. First, the problem or question should be stated clearly and simply so that it is understood by each participant. Take a little time to discuss the problem questions, and then write it on a flip chart. This will dramatically increase the quality of answers generated and the amount of creative ideas that come from a brainstorming session.
The aim of the brainstorming session should be to generate the most ideas possible within a specific period of time. An effective brainstorming session will last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, and 30 minutes is usually ideal.
The best number of participants for a brainstorming session is between four to seven people. Any less than four, and you run the risk of not having enough stimulation for creative thinking. Any more than seven, and you may find that there is insufficient opportunity for everyone to contribute.
Assign a Group Leader for Free-Flowing, Creative Ideas
Each brainstorming session requires a group leader. The role of the leader is to keep the ideas as free-flowing as possible and to encourage creative thinking. The group leader is a stimulator of creative ideas, encouraging each person to speak up with anything he or she has to contribute.
The most important rule in a brainstorming session is to avoid evaluating the ideas during the process. The focus is on quantity, not quality. Evaluation and discussion of the ideas will take place at a separate session, away from the original brainstorming and creative thinking process.
There should also be a recorder at each session. This person will write down every idea as it is generated so that the list can be typed up and circulated at a later time.
The real keys to a successful brainstorming session are positive emotions, laughter, ridiculous ideas, and absolutely no criticism of any kind. The group leader needs to ensure that no one says anything that throws water on the ideas of anyone else. Again, creative ideas need to be as free-flowing as possible.
Free-Flowing Creative Ideas
When I conduct brainstorming sessions, I find that the best way to get going is to first agree on the question or problem, and second, to go around the table one by one. Pretty soon, everyone will start to contribute and the brainstorming session is off and running with a massive amount of creative ideas.
When it comes to evaluating the ideas pulled together from the brainstorming session in a later session, it can be helpful to bring together an entirely different group of people. This group will consider the ideas without the ego involvement and emotional attachment of the original group. As a result, they will be able to assess the creative ideas far more objectively.
The amazing thing about brainstorming is that virtually any group can come up with an incredible number of creative ideas when stimulated by this method. And you can never tell which ideas are going to provide the breakthrough solution that you need. So aim for quantity. The more creative ideas you generate, the greater the likelihood that you will have exactly the idea that you need at exactly the right time.
By practicing mindstorming and brainstorming on a regular basis, you can unleash a torrent of ideas that will enable you to accomplish your goals faster than you ever believed possible. Today, in the information age, ideas are the most valuable tools of production. And since your ability to generate innovative, effective, usable ideas is virtually unlimited, your future is unlimited as well.
Two Ways to Stimulate Creative Thinking
Now, here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:
First, don’t delay. Bring together three or more people immediately and conduct a brainstorming session. Put the question or problem on a whiteboard or flip chart and go for it!
Second, make it a game to see how many ideas the group can generate within a specific time period. Focus on quantity, not quality.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post on how to hold an effective brainstorming session to generate creative ideas for business success. Do you have any tips on how to ignite creative thinking during a brainstorming session? Please share your tips and comment below!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.