Tired of being dragged into boring company meetings to discuss ideas, knowing you’re going to spend the next hour watching the clock? It’s time to jazz it up! Brainstorming is a fun idea but it’s not always a fun implementation. Let’s check out a few things you can do (for cheap or even free!) to make the most of your next session.
Go Somewhere Else!
Leaving your desk is the first step in any good brainstorm but maybe you can consider leaving the office. If you have access to a nice picnic table in your office park, use it! If there’s a coffee house a block away, go there. Just having a different view immediately unlocks your brain and the creativity might start flowing faster. A change of scenery will do you good.
Grab Some Snacks
Many people think more clearly when they’re not starving so see if everyone can bring a snack. Eating together also has the benefit of breaking down some barriers and making people feel more sociable and comfortable, two awesome positives for any meeting. Even if you just pop a couple bags of popcorn in the microwave and everyone brings their own coffee, it works!
Brainstorms can be so much more fun if you let them get a bit silly. You know those stress balls that people use? Grab one and play a game where one person asks a question and throws the ball to someone. Whoever catches the ball has to answer the question and then ask another one. If you’re brainstorming ideas, have someone state an idea then throw the ball and whoever catches it says yes or no to the idea. Simple and childlike stuff but again, it works!
Let Someone Else Lead
If your manager usually controls the agenda, ask him or her if some other employee can lead a brainstorm. Just changing up roles can unlock new channels and you might end up generating some really great ideas. Since everyone has their own style of doing things, you might find that another method of brainstorming works better than your usual.
A couple years back, Mashable posted a really great list of 24 mindmapping and brainstorming tools. http://mashable.com/2013/09/25/mind-mapping-tools/ Even though I do think it’s good to take a break from electronics to brainstorm, if you can’t or just don’t want to do that, there are some really cool tools listed in this article.
Google Trends is cool to look at to get ideas on what types of searches are popular. Even if your type of brainstorm doesn’t involve something like marketing, just viewing popular searches can really start you thinking about what everyone’s talking about and if you can figure out how to relate that to what you’re working on, you’re golden!
Visual brainstorming might be something you could do well with if you’re working on something in the design field, as it helps you put together images that can really make ideas more clear.
Just to wrap up, trying something different when you brainstorm, whether it’s a change of location or a new tool, can really make brainstorming fun for everyone. From my experience, people are usually very open to trying something new like this and those few employees who are always more change-averse end up understanding that change really IS a good thing.
What other ideas can you think of? I’d love to hear from you!