Being the owner or employee for a small business means being a constant idea machine. You’ll have to learn how to come up with solutions and ideas on the spot at any time of the day. At first, this can be pretty easy – you’re a fresh mind with fresh ideas and you’re spitting them out left and right. After a while, though, the well starts to run dry. You’re grasping at straws, trying your damnedest to come up with whatever you can and what you do deliver isn’t very good.
This means you’re going to have to learn how to brainstorm. No matter whether you’re totally new at this or you’ve exhausted your entire idea bank, it’s never a bad idea to develop a talent for brainstorming – especially with others.
Group brainstorming activities can be the best way for you and your team to come up with brand new ideas, or even fine-tune old ones. One half-formed idea you have combined with one half-formed idea from another coworker can add up to be the best idea you’ve seen all year.
But sometimes the common forms of brainstorming don’t work as well as they should. Everyone will get pretty burnt out on just shouting out ideas, so implement these four new and innovative brainstorming strategies during your next project meeting. You’ll be amazed by how much synergy you guys will share, and the ideas will come pouring out.
Change the scenery a little bit.
Sometimes what’s really blocking all of your creativity is staying in the same old meeting room and office space over and over again. Even if you work in the most inventive and creative office in the world, staying in the same place every day stagnates your creativity. Instead of staring at the same wall again, suggest everyone move somewhere else.
The best place for sparking creativity is somewhere engaging, like the outdoors, but even moving to a different room can get the juices flowing again. Being in a different setting can give you a refreshed sense of newness.
Oh – but if you’re a cool boss or have some pull in your workplace, definitely go for the work picnic option.
Stop applying all that pressure.
One of the reasons you’re drained of ideas is probably that you’re trying too hard to force them out. The best ideas are organic – they simply spring out of you without effort. When you sit there and think, think, think yourself into a stupor, you aren’t going to get anywhere.
This idea is two-fold: first, always keep a pen and paper handy – even in every room in your house. Don’t let that idea slip past you in the shower. Hop out and write it down! Just let your engines rest and write things down as they come to you.
Utilize some group therapy techniques.
No not in the somber way. When you all pile into the meeting room, sit in a circle and just talk – you can pick a question or topic to answer, but just get talking about something other than brainstorming.
When you engage with others on a more personal level, you get your mind working in ways that get it ready for bigger brainstorming work ahead. Talking about critical thinking or person questions makes you actually think about your answers, so you aren’t just regurgitating ideas using the same old brain techniques you usually use.
Also try the opposite strategy.
Sometimes what really gets people motivated is keeping them apart from the rest of the pack. Skip the meeting for once and tell employees that they have an hour to come up with an idea – just one. After the hour, bring everyone to the meeting room and go around in a circle, reading off the ideas.
Also work in making small groups with different dynamics, instead of just one large group. Some people work better with other personality types – if you can make an idea match made in heaven, you’ll get brainstorming ideas in no time.