The one and only Wikipedia defines brainstorming as “a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.”
In a nutshell, brainstorming is a group-thinking towards finding solutions for different problems.
In companies, especially creative agencies dealing with product promotions, brainstorming is an activity absolutely necessary at multiple stages of campaign promotions.
So it’s essential for teams to know how to brainstorm properly.
Here at The Crowdfunding Formula, we’ll be calling it TCF for short, we brainstorm ideas almost every week before we start every project.
In order to make those brainstorming sessions as productive as possible, we implement and play around with a few group decision-making techniques that help us and will undoubtedly help you and your team.
Without further ado, let’s jump to the 4 tips that we use during any brainstorming session at our company, leading to million-dollar campaigns and tons of fun while working.
We’re a medium-sized company with multiple departments and a huge diversity of people. And as cliche as that may sound, we love inclusion.
Even though the brainstorming purposes might not always include the entire company when it comes to specific projects and whoever is working on that, we still make sure that everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the brainstorming session.
We’re strong advocates of ‘the more, the merrier’ ideology here and the reason is as follows:
In the end, the brainstorming process with a lot of people from different departments makes things juicier, more effective and more enjoyable.
Let’s say we have a new crowdfunding campaign we need to promote.
Each campaign will have a separate team assigned to its full promotion implementation and management.
But we don’t want the opinions and ideas to be biased or fluctuate within specific scopes.
Let’s be real here, the team working on the project will, intentionally or not, have some boundaries or biases, imaginary limits.
So we invite people from other departments, starting from IT to design and partnerships, people with no direct involvement in the promotion process to challenge the rest with fresh and raw ideas that will later be polished and turned into actionable steps.
It works every single time. Try it, really.
This one is a personal favorite of mine, for obvious reasons. Working in the same environment day in and day out can be tiring, to say the least.
Of course, we have all kinds of fun distractions to take the edge off at the office and make work literally refreshing, but nothing has encouraged a stream of fresh and creative ideas as much as a change in scenery does.
Take your team out for a walk, go to a nearby cafe to brainstorm, go the extra mile and take them on a work retreat out of town. Engaging their brain in fun games like Solitaire or a business-related puzzle games is not a bad idea. Games are one the proven effective ways to improve brainstorming skills and help them to start thinking out of the box.
Environment impacts creativity. This is not rocket science or self-assumption. It’s scientifically and practically proven that the environment you work in with its colors, level of noise, presence of nature and green attributes largely affect how one’s brain operates.
After all, how long can someone stay in the same room for at least 40 hours a week for an extensive period of time without experiencing a lack of creativity?
We encourage the creative flow of ideas by changing the scenery once in a short while.
Of course, it’s not an option every single time, but trust us when we say it has worked on multiple occasions and helped us challenge our views in an unfamiliar environment.
This is a technique we often use because it brings out results no one could’ve predicted or come up with without it.
People are different and their views, values, way of thinking, decision making and other aspects of working are different.
We are passionate about all of our projects, obviously, otherwise, we wouldn’t be working on them.
However, people may have differing opinions and viewpoints regarding certain areas of work, which is precisely why we encourage more people to participate and why this technique comes in handy during the brainstorming process.
The idea behind the pessimist vs. optimist method is to start the brainstorming session with a “how about we do this” type of suggestion.
Someone who’s more pessimistic about that idea will present an opposing opinion or a threat like “we don’t have the resources to do it.”
The optimistic one will most likely instantly come up with a solution for the pessimistic point similar to “well we can outsource a part of it to someone who’s an expert at that.”
Basically, ideas will be thrown out there and the team will tackle it from every angle leading to very well thought-out solutions.
When he came up with the phenomenon of brainstorming and its principles, Alex Osborn put a very important step in the process. That step encourages withholding criticism and is crucial for a successful brainstorming session.
Taking into account that the ideal team brainstorming for TCF is one filled with a lot of people, unusual environments and a lot of diverse opinion voicing, the ‘no judgment’ rule is one of the brainstorming rules that applies to every single person participating, no exceptions.
Criticism, when delivered wrong (and there’s a very thin and blurred line between delivering it right and wrong) can cause unnecessary tension and uncalled for insecurities for certain team members.
The purpose of a creative team brainstorming is for people to share their ideas and challenge others in a non-judgmental environment where everyone feels like part of the bigger picture and serves the bigger purpose.
So criticizing is a no-go.
On the other hand, challenging one’s opinion by bringing valid arguments is a healthy way to discuss and find the missing links in someone’s suggestion.
At TCF, team brainstorming is everyone’s favorite because by implementing these tactics religiously in every one of our brainstorming sessions, we ensure productivity, effectiveness and a fun time for all participants.
Brainstorming should be a refreshing experience. Tired people don’t think creatively. Tired people count down the minutes before the brainstorming ends because they don’t feel responsible for the ideas thrown out there.
Try putting into practice these 4 simple steps for a successful brainstorming session and come back to us letting know whether they’ve worked for your team or not. After all, knowing how to brainstorm is a key factor ensuring the successful start of any project.