“Whether you are writing, creating an art piece or troubleshooting a problem at work – brainstorming ideas and solutions is at the forefront. Brainstorming however, can sometimes be a daunting task and sometimes unfruitful exercise; but don’t despair – Mindspurt is here to help.
Here are 10 brainstorming strategies you can use to generate the best ideas:
Work in multifaceted groups
You know the popular saying: ” two heads are better than one”; if you truly want to generate the most unique and productive ideas, then one of the brainstorming strategies you should be using is multifaceted groups. Have people with unique perspectives, academic qualifications, experiences and opinions.
Consider the example of brainstorming a new product entering the market place; a new dating app targeted at teens. If you have primarily engineers brainstorming the session, then they will only focus on the software working well which may result in a premature product entering the market place. A multifaceted group however of say teens, marketers, sales people and accountants will be competent enough to brainstorm other concerning issues; these include cost of product, appeal to the target audience and distribution channels. So you see, brainstorming should incorporate a unique mix of people.
Always ask why
“Why” is a fundamental word utilized in the “lean method” of problem solving created by the Japanese. Asking “why” often uncovers the fundamental truth; often referred to as the “root cause.” Asking “why” should be incorporated as a part of your brainstorming strategies as a validation check. Refer to the example below:
Consider a machine breakdown which a group of workers are trying to brainstorm. An investigation showed that a part had been worn out. Asking “why” however highlighted a more fundamental root cause: there was no planned maintenance in place to ensure that parts were timelessly replaced. You see – it is easy to fix a cause but not a root cause. Therefore always ask why to uncover the deeper truth.
Use the “until proven useless” principle
The next time you think an idea is stupid just remember that some guy got rich selling a rock as a pet. This is one of the reasons you should never dismiss ideas as stupid during brainstorming sessions unless it is properly analysed. Brainstorming should be about exercising creativity and freedom of expression. People should be free to throw ideas into the pool without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
We are visual creatures; check out this post on visual learning and you will understand why. This means that visuals should be a fundamental aspect of your brainstorming strategies. Use mind-maps, flow diagrams and illustrations to get your creative juices flowing. This article written by Psychology Today indicates that visuals can help us better retrieve and remember information…..pretty cool!
Use “what if” scenarios
“What if” scenarios are excellent for systems thinking. For all ideas generated during brainstorming; perform a “what if” analysis to determine what the outcome is likely to be. Ask the questions:
- What if I did…..?
- What if this went wrong?
- What if I increase/decreased this?
These are just generic questions…. but you get the idea: always ask “What if?”
Build on existing ideas
Building on existing ideas is what made many people successful. Uber built on the taxi service business to create a streamlined and effective transportation giant. Steve jobs built on the PC development industry to create the beautifully designed “Apple” computers. In the same way, one of the best brainstorming strategies is building on existing ideas. What is already there? How can you improve on these ideas or use them to catapult new ideas. There is a plethora of ideas out there…. what are you waiting for; start brainstorming.