Profitable Brainstorming

Impact Factory runs

Open Personal Development Courses

Tailored Creativity and Innovation Training

and personalised One-to-One Executive Coaching

for anyone working with creativity and innovation issues

Profitable Brainstorming

Creativity and Innovation

Ideas are the lifeblood of an organisation.

Without them it will not develop and improve its products, services and processes, but you can be sure that its competitors will! Such organisations will not survive for long.

Strangely, a good idea is no better than a bad idea unless it is implemented!

This is the crux of the matter.

Things don't just happen - people make things happen.

Survival is not obligatory - it's up to you.

That’s why people are an organisation's most important resource.

But like any resource, it is only useful if you can tap into it and put it to good use.

How much effort do you really put into encouraging your people to come up with ideas and to follow them through to a successful implementation?

You need to make best use of your people and harness their natural creativity and genius.

They need to focus the power of their brain and apply the knowledge, expertise and experience that is in their heads to address the challenges they face.

Unfortunately this just doesn't happen as often as we would like. Whilst it may seem contradictory, people need a structure or process to follow in order to help them be more creative. Such an approach is Brainstorming.

Brainstorming Approach

Brainstorming is a proven group approach to generating ideas relating to a specific subject matter by allowing the participants to voice their ideas, no matter how strange, weird, far-fetched or impossible they may seem. This generates a large number of ideas in a short period of time and allows you to whittle down the ideas to those that warrant further analysis and possibly implementation.

The Rules of Brainstorming are simple:

• Focus on the subject matter/challenge set
• Involve everyone present
• Encourage participants to freewheel, and say what they think
• Do not criticise, comment on, or be dismissive of, participants and their ideas.
• Record, don't discuss ideas that are generated
• Feed off of and expand on other people's ideas

The rules may be simple but many people are disappointed with the Brainstorming process in practice. They expend time and effort contributing but the outcome doesn't seem to warrant the effort, for any of the following reasons:

• They weren't listened to. Their input wasn't recorded or disappeared.
• The logistics of the exercise was too great and the outcome oversimplified
• The session deviated and did not really address the subject matter loss of focus.
• All too often the same old ideas surface there is nothing new or different where did the creativity disappear to?
• Participants were not involved in the grouping and selection of the ideas so the decision making process is unclear
• The output bears little relationship to the input so there is little consensus or ownership of the outcome in fact the participants may even feel that they have been 'used'

Successful Brainstorming

Fundamental to the success of Brainstorming is that everyone involved understands the process and their roles and responsibilities within it. Such a process is as follows:

Start: Need for Ideas

Step 1: Identify need for Brainstorming

Ensure that there is a specific need for the Brainstorming and that Brainstorming is a valid approach to adopt. The outcome of the Brainstorming activity must serve an obvious purpose.

Step 2: Form Brainstorming group

Involve the right people and gain their commitment to become involved.

Step 3: Prepare for Brainstorming session

Agree subject matter, time, venue, approach, roles, responsibilities and required supporting resources. Start thinking about the subject matter research, observe, take notes, explore thinking doesn't just begin in the brainstorming session.

Step 4: Generate ideas

Discuss the subject matter to make sure that you are all clear on what it is about and its scope. Ideas need stimuli. Use thought provoking open questions. What works well? Where are the problem areas? Where are there opportunities for improvement? Who are the customers/stakeholders and what are they looking for? What are our competitors and world-class organisations doing? What would make a major difference? What assumptions are we making and are they valid? If we achieved the end goal, what would we be doing/experiencing? How would we measure success? What would be measures of excellence? What are the significant trends (technology, society, political, education, environment, legislation) and can we use them to our advantage?

Step 5: Develop, group and prioritise ideas

Once the initial idea generation activity has ceased, the Brainstorming group should then review, develop and group related ideas to aid analysis. This allows the Brainstorming team to identify potential missing areas/gaps and provides the opportunity for further ideas and avenues of thought to be generated and developed. Ideas should them be prioritised based on the potential benefits that would result. Where would you expend your limited resources to achieve the biggest return?

Step 6: Decide next steps

Once the idea grouping session has been completed the Brainstorming team should discuss what are the next steps to be taken to move the prioritised ideas forward into the analysis and implementation stages. At this stage, who does what and when, is agreed and actions assigned accordingly.


Prioritised ideas available for development and implementation

So there you have it. A simple process to complement the simple rules of Brainstorming ensuring that the key ideas generated are identified, agreed and available for development and implementation to improve your bottom line performance. The participants will also feel more positive about the outcome and will be more willing to become involved and contribute in future Brainstorming sessions.

However, the process described doesn't prepare you for the hard work involved. Nor does it give you any indication of the logistics, skills, techniques, and tools required to successfully perform such activities. So what further help can we give you to better prepare you for Brainstorming sessions and generating ideas?

This article was contributed by Mind Genius.


Creativity and Innovation Training

Impact Factory runs

Open Personal Development Courses

Tailored Creativity and Innovation Training

and personalised One-to-One Executive Coaching

for anyone working with creativity and innovation issues

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