Tips for the Stormiest Brainstorms
Less than excited for another boring, time-sucking, bad-idea producing brainstorm? (Note: There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. As cringe-worthy as an idea might sound, bad ideas can spark brilliant ones.) But brainstorms don’t have to be dreadful. Keep them interesting and stormy with these tips.
Ask people to come prepared with ideas.
Sounds obvious, but we’ve all been in brainstorms where we don’t have what we need to produce quality ideas. Clever ideas don’t always come when you ask them to. They come when we’re in traffic, lathering up in the shower, falling asleep, or Netflix and chillin’. Make sure the team has a solid creative brief with concrete project goals well before the meeting. If you want them to bring ideas to the brainstorm, give them enough time to do so, and remind them. This way, stellar ideas come easier from the get-go. Plus, giving out all the info early nixes the need for a lengthy project rundown at the meeting. Because let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Give ‘em a moment a silence (and anonymity).
Not everyone is a sharer. The best brainstorms happen when everyone feels comfortable putting all their ideas on the table. So, start the brainstorm with complete silence and have the team write their individual ideas down. You can even do this before the meeting (see tip 1) and have them send ideas in anonymously using a brainstorming tool like Candor. This brainwriting technique reduces group-think and having the first (often weakest) ideas lead the entire discussion.
Do some wishful thinking.
Ask everyone to imagine the wildest, unattainable solution to your given problem/task. The more outside of the box, the better. Then, as a group, zero in on how they could be altered, with the aim of sparking new but realistic concepts to pursue. How can you scale an idea down? What details could work now? You might just get something that works.
Seeing is believing.
The most classic technique—mood boards—are great for new branding and design concepts. Keep a collection of images, words, textures, colors, etc. for each prospective concept. Boards can be physical or digital—like Behance, Pinterest, or MoodBoard. Keeping an eye on the visuals can trigger fresh ideas, so make sure the team can access the board after the initial brainstorm too.
Play a word game.
Say a word related to the project and have the team brainstorm a whole bunch of other words that come to mind—rhymes, metaphors, words based on the first word’s aesthetics, idioms/phrases, etc. Then share them and bucket them based on relationship. The goal is to come up with less obvious but still applicable words your audience might associate with your project and then go from there.
Opt for a change of scenery.
Switching up your physical environment isn’t just fun; it can affect the way your brain works. Researchers believe enriched environments can speed up the rate at which the brain creates new neurons and neural connections. More connections mean more creativity. So, don’t brainstorm in your regular meeting room. If you can’t change the room, change something in it or go off-site. A coffee shop, a park, or dare we say, a brewery?
Try these tips and if you still feel like your brainstorms are coming up short, let the team at Schmoll Creative help! A rebrand, a new logo, badass copy—we got you covered.