By Kelly Borth, Chief Strategy Officer at GREENCREST
Whoever said, “Two heads are better than one” was on to something. When was the last time you tapped into your company’s extensive brainpower? Doing so is not only insightful, it can also be transformational.
Regular brainstorming is prevalent in companies that drive innovation and lead the markets in which they serve. They use the brainpower within and outside of their organization to keep in the forefront of modernization and advancement, leaving behind a trail of competitors and followers.
Here are some brainstorming tips and best practices for making your time spent together focused, productive, empowering and game changing.
In today’s world, it’s difficult to get busy people to focus for 10 seconds, let alone hours. People’s tolerance for intense focus and brainpower is limited to a couple of hours at best.
So schedule shorter, more focused discussions that tackle a specific area of need — strategic planning, competitive analysis, product development, improvements in customer service, growing market share and so on.
Go into every brainstorming meeting with a set agenda and objective.
The power of brainstorming is to accumulate a mass of ideas — no matter how crazy or expensive. Nonjudgmental acceptance allows team members to build on those themes and gets everyone to participate in a non-threatening and unintimidating environment. The more accepting of ideas, the more it encourages ideas to flow.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, you initially want quantity over quality.
Allow the team to weigh in and bite your tongue. Don’t dismiss an idea without giving it its due consideration. Then, use an evaluation process to help narrow down the list. Once each idea is thoroughly assessed, select the best ones.
Many times the first ideas from the initial brainstorming session don’t make it to the short list. This is one reason why brainstorming is so critical. Part of the process is discussion, refinement and new thoughts to get to the best outcomes.
Use your team to build upon and/or refine the best ideas. Big ideas that may initially seem impossible could pave the way to groundbreaking solutions, innovative new products or revolutionary process improvements.
Brainstorming often excites a lot of emotion and conversation. Make sure you have a strong facilitator to keep the discussion moving forward and on topic.
This facilitator will get your team through the agenda on time, eliminate distractions, give everyone the opportunity to speak, connect important thoughts and take you out of the limelight so you can observe, listen and participate as a member of the team.
Don’t leave great, market changing ideas on the drawing board. Make sure they get nurtured and supported so they can take off.
Too many times great ideas are left behind in the dust of day-to-day business minutia. You don’t want to look back and say, “we could of, would of, should of.” Procrastination does not grow businesses; action does.
Brainstorming moves businesses forward, so keep your business relevant and grow market share by exercising your organization’s brainpower.