How to have an effective brainstorming session

How to have an effective brainstorming session

Rosie Hayes

Rosie Hayes
9th January 2018

Brainstorming can be a fantastic way to produce an abundance of ideas, as well as fostering staff creativity and participation. Allowing your staff to think freely and creatively can make everyone’s working experience more fun, and this creative freedom can open the gates to numerous propositions that vary in approach and application. By holding a brainstorming session, previously unexamined solutions and concepts can be brought to the table, providing a vital resource for small businesses.

Depending on the business’ dynamic, innovation and propelling things forward may be contingent on certain efforts including holding regular brainstorming sessions. As a small business, holding these sessions can be particularly fortuitous. Less staff in a company can mean they have more understanding of the challenges and direction of the business as a whole, and have closer working ties to those who will be in attendance.  In addition to these points, creative thinking can be developed as a skill during these sessions, which may be important for members of staff who are highly skilled in their specialism, but not as familiar with group ideation.

Here are some tips to think about before holding your session:

Create goals for the session and follow-up

The brainstorming session must have a clear focus. This might be a specific problem the business needs to solve, or something else that will ensure all attendees know what the goal of the session is.

Be clear about how people can contribute

If there is likely to be many people in attendance, it might be worth clarifying the expected mode of communication. For example, are attendees meant to write things down, raise their hand to speak, or go up to speak one at a time to share their thoughts and ideas?

Only invite relevant participants

Even as a small business, you can be discerning about who you invite to the meeting. Consider who should be involved in the session and why. Will they be part of the follow-up plan?

Choose an appropriate venue

The venue is important for creative brainstorming, so be sure to choose a space that reflects the method of communication being utilised. You may need a whiteboard, a computer and screen, or other items, so check these are available in the room.

During the session:

Give an introduction

Let your staff know the purpose of the session, why you’re holding it, and what you want to achieve.

Share important information

This might include the location of toilets, break times, where water and coffee are available, and the time you plan to finish the session. Let attendees know whether mobile phones are permitted, and if these should be on silent.

Split groups up if necessary

To avoid people sitting with people who are already familiar, you may wish to split people up and sit them next to different team members.

Record the session

It is highly recommended that you record your session in some way, this may just be a nominated person taking notes throughout so that you can return and develop interesting and useful ideas.

After your session:

Following your session

Some of the ideas that arose during your session should inspire action, so after the meeting be sure to follow these up with goals, objectives, and milestones.

Holding these sessions will encourage bold content to be expressed, and the development of the results can impel your team to improve and innovate. Concretely following-up ideas might even encourage you to rediscover and recuperate your business ideals. Cultivating the skills of your team to think creatively will not only surface some unique ideas, but can help staff to apply these skills in their usual roles. To get the most out of these sessions, make sure to set clear goals and follow these up diligently to ensure you get practical results.