How to Brainstorm without having unproductive discussions


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You're asking how to brainstorm without having thousands of unproductive discussions and meetings?

If you need to have a productive brainstorming session with your team, you need to do these things:

  1. Go for quantity over quality.
  2. Treat any idea as a good idea.
  3. Do it together but individually.

When brainstorming, let's try to maintain a diverging mindset focusing on creating options. When we brainstorm in a team, we judge ourselves and filter out our ideas in our heads until we come up with the best idea we can think of. This is a myth and you will NOT generate great ideas by doing so. One simple exercise to practice going for quantity over quality is to timebox the idea generation session to a couple of minutes and set a goal for the number of ideas that each individual should generate.

When generating ideas, dare to go wild! If you are a facilitator, set the stage for it. Announce openly that everyone can go wild in this brainstorming session with the ideas. Treat all the ideas as good ideas but do not appreciate or turn down any of the ideas that are generated. Criticizing can be done in a later step when we are converging our options down.

However, most of the brainstorming sessions end up being unproductive due to noise and power. That is why we encourage the brainstorming to be done individually, anonymously, and silently even if everyone is gathered in the same room. If the CEO is a part of your brainstormer, if her idea was exposed, everyone will like the idea just because she is the CEO! If someone looks at the other's idea on paper and says "What a cool idea!", the rest of the team will feel reluctant to go against it as it is already perceived as a good idea by one of the participants.

Try these tips and methods in your next brainstormer and let us know how it went! Happy Brainstorming!

Design by 3 Hosts

Gayanjith Premalal (Ganji)

Harshadewa Ariyasinghe (Harsha)

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