Brainstorming is a group technique used to encourage the creation of original approaches, proposals, and solutions to a given problem or situation. It is a collaborative process in which team members share their ideas and perspectives without any restrictions and without fear of being judged.
In addition, it is a super useful technique in any field and sector, we use it in our inbound marketing processes, however, you can take advantage of it in engineering, agronomy, or any area in which you are.
The goal of brainstorming is to encourage creativity and innovation, as well as generate a large number of ideas so that the team can choose the most viable and effective ones. During a session of this type, participants can build on and improve each other’s ideas.
7 Effective techniques, with examples, for brainstorming
Brainstorming is an effective technique for generating new creative suggestions in a team. However, it can be difficult to get started and maintain a steady flow of ideas during a work session. Do you want to know the best techniques for this? Continue reading.
1. Individual brainstorming
Before starting your group brainstorming session, allow each team member some time to generate ideas individually. This will allow you to have a solid base of ideas to share in the group session.
For example, if the goal of the brainstorm is to generate proposals for a new marketing strategy for a product, you can ask each team member to spend a few minutes writing down their ideas on a piece of paper.
Set a time limit to ensure that all members have the same amount of time to develop their proposals. Once everyone has finished, ask everyone to share their ideas with the group.
This can help ensure that all ideas are heard and that a solid foundation is established for the group brainstorming session.
Instead of speaking out loud during the brainstorming session, each member of the ensemble writes their ideas on paper and shares them with the group. This can help more introverted collaborators convey their ideas more comfortably.
For example, if the team is working on a project to improve the user experience in a mobile app, you can provide each member with a sheet of paper and ask them to write down their ideas over a set period of time.
Then, ask them to pass their sheet of paper to the person next to them, who will have a few minutes to read the ideas and add additional ideas. This process continues until all sheets of paper have been circulated throughout the group.
3. Mind maps
Use a visual technique to generate ideas, such as mind maps. Start with a central idea and then add branches and subbranches to develop related ideas.
For example, if you want to generate ideas to improve efficiency in a company’s production process, you can start with the central idea of “production process” and create branches that represent different aspects of the process, such as “materials”, “machinery”, “personnel” and “control systems”.
From each branch, subbranches can be added that represent specific ideas, such as “more durable materials,” “more efficient machines,” “staff training,” and “production tracking software.”
Think of analogies to generate new proposals. For example, if the goal of the brainstorming session is to find new ways to promote a product, you might ask, “How could we promote our product as if it were a character in a movie?”
Let’s imagine that the product we want to promote is a smartwatch with advanced health and wellness features. If we treated him as if he were a movie character, we could use the following promotion strategy:
Do you want to feel like James Bond himself on your daily missions? Make the new next-generation smartwatch your new spy companion!
With its advanced health and wellness features, you can monitor your physical activity, measure your stress and sleep levels, and track your progress in real-time.
In addition, its elegant and modern design will make you look like a secret agent on your urban missions.
5. Lateral thinking
Instead of facing the problem directly, think of alternative and out-of-the-box solutions, that’s what this technique is all about.
Let’s say you want to find a solution to reduce a company’s production costs. Lateral thinking might suggest considering alternative solutions that are not directly related to production.
For example, instead of looking for ways to reduce production costs, you could ask: “How could we generate additional income that is not related to the production process?” or “How could we reduce production costs by outsourcing certain processes to other companies?”
By thinking outside the box, you can generate innovative ideas that have not been considered before.
6. Role-playing games
This technique is important to focus on how the end-user or potential customer feels.
Let’s consider that a manufacturing company wants to improve efficiency in its production process to reduce waiting times for customers.
Instead of simply looking for ways to optimize that process, team members can use role-playing to focus on the needs of the end customer.
To do this, employees could be asked to play the role of different types of customers who interact with the company, such as a customer who needs an urgent order or a customer who has had problems with a previous order.
Then, you can ask: “How would the customer feel if the wait time were shorter?” or “How would the customer feel if they received real-time updates on the status of their order?”
These questions can generate new solutions to improve the customer experience and reduce wait times.
Instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, think about how to make the problem worse.
For example, if the goal of the brainstorming session is to find ways to reduce errors in a production process, the inversion technique might suggest thinking about how to make errors even more common and serious.
Questions might then be asked such as: “How could we make mistakes have even more serious consequences?”
These ideas can then be reversed to find useful solutions. Instead of making errors more frequent, more rigorous verification and quality control systems could be implemented to prevent mistakes from occurring in the first place.
How to brainstorm? real example
To brainstorm, you must define the problem, gather your work team, establish the rules of the session, generate ideas, evaluate and select the most promising proposals, implement the selected ideas, and monitor the results.
Step 1: Define the problem or challenge
Before starting a brainstorming session, you should state the challenge to be addressed. Make sure all participants are on the same page and have a common understanding of the problem that needs to be solved.
Example: A technology company is trying to find ways to increase retention of its existing customers.
Step 2: Gather a group of creative and diverse people
Make sure there is the right balance between people with experience in the topic and people who can offer a fresh, unique perspective.
Example: The technology company brings together a group of employees from different departments, including sales, marketing, customer support, and product development.
Step 3: Set the ground rules for the session
Do this with the goal of keeping the session focused and productive. Make sure all participants understand the rules and adhere to them.
For example, ground rules for the brainstorming session may include things like not criticizing others’ ideas, avoiding interruption during presentations, and keeping focus on the topic at hand.
Step 4: Generate ideas
In this step, the brainstorming itself begins. Ask participants to generate as many proposals as possible in a given period of time. Encourage participants to think of creative and unconventional solutions.
Continuing with the example, employees at the technology company begin to present ideas to increase customer retention.
Some of the ideas include offering special discounts to loyal customers, improving product functionality, and providing better customer support.
Step 5: Evaluate and select the most promising ideas
Once enough proposals have been generated, group the most promising ones together. Ask participants to discuss and evaluate each idea based on its feasibility, cost, potential impact, and other relevant factors.
For example, the technology firm’s workers review the ideas presented and select those they consider most viable and promising. They decided to focus on improving product functionality and providing better customer support.
Step 6: Implement the selected ideas
Assign clear responsibilities to team members and establish an action plan to carry out selected ideas.
Example: The technology company assigns a product development team the responsibility of improving the functionality of the product, while a customer support team works on improvements corresponding to their area.
Step 7: Monitor and evaluate results
Emphasize that the desired brainstorming goals are being achieved and that any necessary adjustments are being made.
Example: The technology company carefully monitors the results of the improvements implemented.
You discover that the update in product functionality has led to an increase in customer satisfaction and a decrease in the subscription cancellation rate.
Additionally, the customer support team has received positive feedback from customers regarding improved customer support.
7 Characteristics of brainstorming that you should take into account
These aspects can help you maximize idea generation and ensure that the session is productive and successful.
1. Clarity of the Goal
Before starting the brainstorming session, it is essential to establish a clear and specific Goal for the session.
This way, team members will know exactly what problem they are trying to solve and can focus their energy on generating relevant and useful ideas.
2. Active participation
For brainstorming to be effective, it is necessary for all team members to actively cooperate and contribute to proposals.
This means that collaborators must feel comfortable sharing their opinions and giving their opinions on the ideas of others.
3. Diversity of perspectives
Brainstorming is most effective when it includes people with different opinions and skills.
This includes workers from different departments or areas of the company, as well as people with different backgrounds and experiences.
4. Creativity and innovation
Brainstorming is an opportunity to think outside the box and generate innovative and creative ideas.
To encourage creativity and innovation during the session, it is recommended that team members free themselves from any mental limitations and biases they may have.
This means that they must be open to considering ideas that may seem crazy or impossible at first, as often these proposals can lead to innovative and effective solutions.
5. No negative reviews
During the idea generation meeting, it is important that no negative criticism or judgment is allowed about the proposals being generated.
Instead, they should focus on generating ideas and evaluating their feasibility and effectiveness later.
6. Flexibility in evaluation
While it is true that you must establish clear and goal evaluation criteria, you also have to be willing to adapt it according to the particularities of each proposal.
To do this, we recommend involving the entire team in this process to ensure that all perspectives and points of view are considered.
Instead of a rigid selection of ideas, it is beneficial to implement a feedback approach.
Select some promising ideas and create prototypes or initial versions to evaluate their viability in a controlled environment.
Then, gather feedback from the team and make adjustments as necessary before proceeding with the full implementation. This process can lead to more robust and well-informed solutions.
5 Tips so that your team does not create drizzles of ideas but rather extraordinary storms
Brainstorming is common in many work teams. The team members meet, and share some proposals, but in the end, they cannot reach a satisfactory solution.
While it’s important to respect the creative process and not pressure collaborators, there are certain strategies that can help ideas flow and lead to extraordinary storms of creativity.
1. Prepare the ground
For the session to be effective, it is important that team members are prepared and have relevant information about the topic to be discussed.
Provide background information to team members before the brainstorming session so they are informed and prepared to contribute valuable ideas. Additionally, it provides a space for your collaborators to have the opportunity to reflect and analyze the information previously provided.
This can help workers have a deeper understanding of the problem or topic being discussed and generate more effective and relevant ideas.
2. Establish clear rules
Clear rules must be established for the brainstorming session. Include rules about respecting others’ ideas, the amount of time each team member has to speak, and how suggestions will be recorded and shared.
Additionally, it is important that team members also feel comfortable sharing ideas that are divergent or that may seem out of the ordinary.
By establishing a safe and non-judgmental environment, collaborators can feel more comfortable sharing proposals that could be seen as risky or unconventional.
3. Encourage feedback
Feedback is essential to improve the brainstorming process. After the session, ask for feedback from team members on how the session went and how you can improve for next time.
You can also ask collaborators to provide feedback on the proposals being generated, which can help refine and further develop the proposed solutions.
By encouraging this process during sessions, you can create a more collaborative environment and improve the quality and effectiveness of the creative process.
4. Keep track of ideas
This can help avoid losing valuable ideas and allow team members to review and develop them further after the session.
You could use a whiteboard or shared online document where team members can record their ideas. As proposals are generated, they are noted on the whiteboard or in the shared document, so that all collaborators can see them and add additional comments or suggestions.
Online voting tools can also be implemented so that members can vote for the proposals they consider most valuable or relevant.
5. Celebrate success
If your brainstorming has been successful and generated valuable ideas, give yourself the opportunity to celebrate the success. Recognize and thank team members for their contributions and celebrate the innovative proposals and solutions that have been generated.
During the meeting, you can recognize team achievements and thank team members for their participation and contribution to the creative process.
You can also highlight the most valuable and effective ideas and recognize the collaborators who generated them.
Finally, you can track the selected ideas and work on their development, including the members who proposed them in the implementation process.
Encourage your work team’s proposals with a brainstorming session
We have shared valuable information with you about how to brainstorm so that you can face any situation within your business. We are sure that you are already able to prepare a session for yourself.
Have these brainstorming techniques been useful to you? We hope so. If you need help with your marketing strategy, write to us and we will gladly assist you.