What does brainstorming mean to you? Are you the type to fire all of your ideas down onto the page, get the ideas flowing by collaborating with the team or adding your thoughts to a canvas or corkboard? However way you decide to do it, brainstorming is a crucial part of how we assess problems and projects in everyday life. If you’re struggling to get started and feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of starting something new, then there’s no need to be. Being a brilliant brainstormer and enhancing your creativity can be made easy, especially by following our tips below.
Say hello to the unusual
Yes, that’s right. When it comes to ideas, welcome the wild, wacky and unconventional. Have fun with your brainstorming. A single bad idea can turn into something better if it’s granted time and effort to make it better. Be creative with your thoughts. Instead of pushing unusual ideas aside, suggest ways to improve it. Beginning your brainstorm with a creative and open mind will help pave the way for your brightest ideas to spark. Why limit the outcomes before you even begin? Trust your instincts and you never know, you may inspire a totally different idea.
You should think of ideas as building blocks. You need one to help build another. The same process should be used for your brainstorming. It’s rare that one idea forms an instant solution. If you’re working in a group, encourage others to add padding to your thoughts. Many ideas can be combined, the crucial point is to allow them to develop organically. While in the ideation process, don’t be afraid to debate. A study found in the US showed that offering criticism actually aided the the number of ideas generated by a group of individuals who were brainstorming*. Find colleagues who are willing to explore and critique your work, you never know what the outcome could be.
Arm yourself with the right tools
We all work in different ways – fact. But, a crucial part of the brainstorming process is gathering all materials together needed to record your ideas. Get creative! Collect paper, flipcharts, colourful pens and sticky notes to ensure you have the right tools to help flourish your ideas and make them stand out. Once your ideas have been noted down, use tech tools such as iMindMap and DropTask to turn your ideas into actionable tasks. By transferring your thoughts into a different location, you’ll be able to decipher a plan for how to turn them into action.
Now you’ve got the basics, it’s time to begin your brainstorm. Don’t be afraid to welcome the weird, prepare to debate and record all of your ideas to ensure a successful brainstorm session. For more useful tips for how to problem solve, spark ideas and generate successful outcomes, take a look at The Creative Thinking Handbook for a step-by-step guide to problem solving in business.
- Study conducted by Cornell University