Businesses today are constantly striving to work out how they can achieve more, improve and work more economically, often through meetings and brainstorming sessions. Brainstorms provide a valuable platform for sharing ideas and planning creative ways to tackle challenges as a business.
But how can you make sure that you’re getting the most out of your brainstorming sessions? Whether it’s an intimate team meeting or a business-wide innovation session, it’s important to ensure you’re set up to make the most out of every session instead of wasting precious time.
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Experimenting with new ways to come up with ideas, suggestions and innovating plans is important for any business. If you’re struggling to motivate your team to tap into their creative nerve, read on for three creative brainstorming techniques to improve your meetings.
1. The Pre-Brainstorm
While the aim of a brainstorm is to work as a team and bounce new and exciting ideas off one another, it’s often best to take advantage of some individual prep time beforehand. This might sound counter-intuitive but making people aware of what will be covered and asking them to plan ahead often renders better results.
Team members coming to the table with a solid understanding of what needs to be achieved in the brainstorm as well as a few initial ideas are far more likely to add value to the session than those who do not.
2. Moving Meetings
Being in a different setting often helps employees think outside of the box. For this reason, one of the best brainstorming techniques is to get up, step away from desks and boardroom tables and get out of the office. There are many ways you can make this work, and plenty of businesses utilize walking meetings. Going for a walk as a group or meeting somewhere outdoors can really help employees break away from their normal, chained-to-their-desk pressurized mindset and come up with different ideas. Fresh air and exercise are also a natural way to stimulate employee’s creative traits.
Another option is to book a creative venue where your team can feel inspired. This could be a local botanical garden or even the grounds of a historical castle. The options are endless, but getting your team away from their normal setting can get creativity and problem-solving abilities flowing more freely.
3. Point of View Brainstorming
Brainstorming sessions focused on solving a problem can be difficult. If it’s a problem you’re facing, you obviously aren’t quite sure how to tackle it. Try taking a different point of view and putting yourself in the shoes of someone else, like a key customer, client or even an industry expert. What would they think of the problem, and what would their likely solution be?
Wearing different hats, so to speak, during a brainstorm allows team members to tackle challenges from a new perspective and can often bring about some very interesting results.
Once this is all done, you’ve got really creative ideas—and that’s great. But now what? How do you keep the momentum going and ensure the brilliant ideas you came up with come to fruition? Now they need to be followed up with action points. Before everyone leaves a brainstorm session, action points need to be assigned so that the session, and the great new techniques you’ve employed, don’t go to waste.
Jacqui Wylde is business development manager at CT Group Travel, a meetings management company with a wealth of experience in planning and delivering meetings.