Brainstorming sessions are one of the most effective ways of generating new ideas and finding solutions.
While any method of brainstorming is better than none, leaders can fall into the trap of inviting the same group of people and following the same process every time. This can severely limit the session’s potential through restricting creativity and cause others to feel undervalued and excluded. Many companies will have a workforce made up of all different types of people, some of which may have a game-changing opinion or solution, but are never given the chance to express it.
So, to make the most of your brainstorming sessions:
1. Value Diversity
Including team members of different ages, genders, backgrounds and experience will greatly increase the number of ideas and angles used to tackle a problem. People with different backgrounds and characteristics see a problem in completely different ways, ignoring this could result in one dimensional or half-baked solutions.
2. Include people from different job roles and departments
How often have you been unable to find a solution to a problem because you can’t see the wood for the trees? Including colleagues who are less involved or entrenched in a problem can be invaluable as they can offer a more objective perspective by looking at it from an outside perspective while applying their own knowledge and skills.
It’s also important to remember that many of your colleagues will have had varied careers before their current role and could have the expertise or different point of view needed to come up with a great idea or provide a solution.
3. Encourage lateral thinking
It’s common for team members to withhold ideas because they think that they’re outlandish or too silly to work. In our professional lives we are often trained to think in the same way and follow the same processes. To help all of your team to find and use their voices, encourage everyone to throw off their inhibitions and be creative in their contributions. Sometimes the best solutions can at first seem like the strangest.