Get More Than Ideas
Build consensus, strengthen culture, and create ownership through the process of brainstorming.
Most communicators know a good brainstorming session can lead to fresh ideas and unique approaches to solving problems. But when done right, the real value of a good session can go much further.
Establish common goals
Before you ever get to solving a problem, it’s important to have clear goals. A productive brainstorming or ideation session is an effective way to confirm your whole team is on board with common objectives and desired outcomes. It might seem obvious that everyone knows the goals, but putting them on paper, or an electronic sharing board, makes it clear what you want to accomplish, the assumptions you’ve made about the process, your anticipated timing and budget, or any other specific details that are important for everyone to know. Plus putting them down in writing opens the discussion to adjust, edit, or add things that you may have forgotten or refine language that may be unclear.
A brainstorming session is a unique opportunity to bring together people who might not otherwise collaborate with each other. By strategically selecting your participants you can gain intrinsic value. For example, a session can provide the opportunity for a C-level manager to see through the eyes of an employee who has direct customer contact. It also allows different departments to work together to solve a common problem—which leads to empowerment, increased communication, and cross-departmental support for ideas that come out of the process.
When managed well, a brainstorming session can have positive outcomes on attitudes and relationships. Participants feel included, respected, and valued for their input. Individuals gain a sense of ownership to the topic or problem at hand and a sense of responsibility to each other to see it through. And what’s more, that goodwill will last much longer than your one-hour session. That’s an outcome that’s good for morale and for implementing new ideas.