7 Effective Brainstorming Strategies to Inspire Creativity

Educate yourself on the do’s and don’t of group brainstorming so that you can lead effective brainstorming sessions that produce great ideas.

We brainstorm ideas all the time, often without even realizing it. We all face some sort of difficulty or challenge on a regular basis which causes us to brainstorm solutions. Brainstorming ideas is something innate in all of us when we deal with personal tribulations, but brainstorming also occurs in a professional setting. In fact, brainstorming ideas is necessary when it comes to teams and companies.

Good ideas don’t just appear out of thin air. A good idea comes from brainstorming, and often that brainstorming is done by a team.

When you sit in a conference room or hop on a Zoom call with your co-workers to discuss work, some sort of brainstorming is always occurring. Group brainstorming is often how great ideas are born. But in order to have a successful group brainstorming session, you need to follow some sort of structure.

Following effective brainstorming strategies will help to inspire creativity and spark originality, which in turn, will result in good ideas. You can’t just throw a bunch of people in a room and expect good ideas to come out of it. Brainstorming ideas requires a lot more work than just that. Continue reading to learn more about how to successfully brainstorm ideas with your team.

What is the purpose of brainstorming?

Brainstorming should be a part of every business and department's tool kit because it’s a way to generate new and unique ideas. Businesses are constantly changing and evolving, but these changes don’t just happen overnight. They come from ideas, and those ideas come from brainstorming. Even after an idea it made, it still needs to be brainstormed further in order to work out all the kinks. All successful business strategies started from a simple brainstorming session.

There are many benefits of collaboration and brainstorming as a whole. Brainstorming with others is a great way to build upon each other's ideas. It’s easy to get stuck when you’re brainstorming by yourself because you don’t have anyone else to bounce your ideas and thoughts off of. But when you expand your brainstorming to include other people, you’re opening up the doors to a whole new world of opportunities.

It can also be hard to come up with solutions to a problem that you’re directly faced with, but it can be a lot easier for someone else to. That’s another benefit of group brainstorming– it invites other people into the conversation to propose ideas you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. Brainstorming provides multiple, diverse perspectives so you can choose the best possible solution.

If you’re working with a short time frame and need to generate good ideas quickly, group brainstorming is the way to go. You can come up with a great idea in an hour when you work as a group, but that same idea might’ve taken you a week to come up with on your own. And not only can you come up with ideas quicker, but also a greater amount of ideas.

Group brainstorming also allows for freewheeling, which is basically suggesting e wild and impractical ideas. Although these ideas might not be the exact solution you’re looking for, they can inspire others and spark originality.

Another benefit of brainstorming ideas as a group is that it helps to improve teamwork. Group brainstorming is a team effort. Brainstorming is a great way to share ideas with your team that you might not have had an opportunity to do otherwise. You get to work together to solve a problem, which will help to create a stronger team atmosphere in your company.

Popular brainstorming ideas to spark originality

Brainstorming is not something you should go into blindly. It’s important to follow specific brainstorming strategies so that you can get the most out of your brainstorming session. Following these strategies will help you create better ideas in a shorter amount of time, so you can implement them to your business strategy as quickly as possible.

Before you go into a brainstorming session, it’s important to have an idea of exactly what you’re going to talk about. There are countless topics that you can discuss with your team, but it’s good to just focus on one topic per session so that you can really figure out the best solution possible.

Every team works differently, but it’s crucial to have some sort of technique when it comes to leading an idea session. Here are some helpful brainstorming topic ideas that you can try the next time you do a group brainstorming session with your team:

For each technique explain what it is, why it works and what businesses or teams would benefit from that specific strategy.

Storyboarding

Storyboarding is a popular brainstorming technique that’s often used in the television and film industries, but it can be applied across many different fields. Storyboarding essentially entails physically drawing out your problem and potential solutions. Creating a visual can be very helpful as it makes things more clear, since everyone is actually able to see the ideas they’re coming up with.

A great way to do this technique is with sticky notes. You can pass out sticky notes to your entire team and have everyone jot down a couple of ideas that they’re currently thinking of. Once everyone has written down a few ideas, gather all the sticky notes and put them on a whiteboard so that everyone in the room clearly sees what they say.

You can then organize or rearrange these sticky notes however you feel makes the most sense for your situation. Physically being able to see and read these ideas can be very beneficial because you can see how the ideas will work together and identify potential strengths and weaknesses.

Storyboarding can be especially beneficial for marketers because they can map out the campaign from start to finish, which will make it easier to point out any flaws or challenges.

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness is another brainstorming technique that involves writing down all the thoughts and feelings you’re having during a period of time. With this technique, there are no rules or regulations that you have to follow. Stream of consciousness can be very beneficial for brainstorming because you’re free to think of whatever you want without any inhibitors getting in the way. The stream of consciousness technique encourages creativity with brainstorming, which can also be helpful if you’re experiencing a mental block.

To use this technique, just take out a piece of paper and a pen and let your mind take over. Jot down any thoughts or feelings you’re experiencing, regardless of what they are. Stream of consciousness is often used by writers to generate creative ideas, but it can be applied to all different kinds of industries.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is often used by business leaders and entrepreneurs, but did you know it can be used as a brainstorming technique, too? The SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats–all of which are important to think about when brainstorming ideas for a problem.

You can’t have a solid idea until you’ve thought of all the potential challenges it may face. You can use a SWOT analysis for both individual and group brainstorming as a way to vet your ideas thoroughly.

strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

Creating a SWOT analysis during a brainstorming session doesn’t have to be complicated. Once your group has come up with an idea, take a whiteboard and create four columns that say strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Have everyone in the group shout out their ideas and write them in the respective columns.

Using this technique can help you identify advantages and disadvantages much earlier than you normally would, which puts you at an upper hand with your idea. Once you’ve figured out your weaknesses and threats, you can immediately start figuring out a way to get around them.

Zero draft

Zero draft is a popular brainstorming technique that involves writing down what you currently know about a topic and what you want to learn more about. This technique is often used by writers, but it can be used in various industries as well. This is a great brainstorming technique to use if you’re just starting off with a project and want to know what direction you should go in. It can be used in both group and individual brainstorming settings.

To use this technique, you basically just need to take a piece of paper and a pen and write down everything you currently know about a topic and everything you want to know. There are no rules and restrictions with zero draft–you can write down whatever thoughts and ideas cross your mind. Once you’ve written everything down, take some time to then reflect on what you wrote.

The zero draft technique can be useful when writing a blog post or article because you first write down everything, and then go back and think about what you wrote. It can also be used when brainstorming ideas for a marketing campaign so you can get all your ideas and thoughts out before actually starting the project.

Brain Netting

Remote working has become quite commonplace in today’s society, which can make group brainstorming more difficult. Which is exactly where brain netting comes into play. Brain netting, or online brainstorming, is very beneficial when it comes to running remote creative sessions. Brain netting can be used in any sort of industry.

With brain netting, everyone in your team or group has a designated place where they can go to voice their ideas, like the metaverse. The benefit of brain netting is that anyone can upload their ideas at any point, so it creates an ongoing list of thoughts and ideas. These ideas can be shared anonymously, which gives people the freedom to express their thoughts without feeling judgment or apprehension.

Group Sketching

Group sketching is pretty self explanatory. It basically involves sketching your ideas with pictures and then passing it onto other participants who will then add on to the image. Sketching your ideas can be very helpful because it allows you to visualize your thoughts without overthinking them. Instead of writing your ideas down, drawing them out can make them feel more real.

Group sketching can also be very beneficial for team building because it involves everyone working together. Everyone’s ideas will bounce off one another’s, which can help to strengthen your team and build stronger connections, as well as generate strong ideas.

Reverse Brainstorming

Reverse brainstorming can get a little bit confusing, but it can also help you come up with some really great ideas. With reverse brainstorming, you’ll start off by actually creating the problem, rather than the solution. While this might seem counterintuitive, it can actually be very beneficial because it teaches you what not to do. Identifying the problem in the beginning ensures you won’t encounter it later down the road.

Reverse brainstorming can be used in a myriad of professional settings. For example, you can use reverse brainstorming when you want to attract new clients to your business. In this situation, you would brainstorm the type of clients who you DON’T want to attract, as this will give you a better idea of who your ideal clients actually are.

Team brainstorming session do’s and don’ts

To get the most out of your next brainstorming session, there are various things you should and should not do. Having successful brainstorming sessions may take some time to get the hang of, so it’s crucial to be aware of things you should avoid.

Brainstorming do’s

  • Set goals: You don’t want to go into a brainstorming session without any goals in mind. You need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish from this brainstorm and how it can benefit your business. So before you start a brainstorming session, take some time to map out your goals.
  • Be prepared: Using a brainstorming technique, like any of the ones mentioned above, will make your brainstorming session go so much smoother. If you go into a brainstorming session without a plan, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for chaos. Preparation is key when it comes to brainstorming so that you can be sure to generate good ideas.
  • Encourage piggybacking: When it comes to brainstorming sessions, piggybacking is actually encouraged. Piggybacking is basically building on each other’s ideas to create the best possible option. The point of group brainstorming is to work together, so piggybacking off each other is actually one of the best things you can do.

Brainstorming don'ts

  • Avoid getting attached: It might be easy to get attached to the first great idea you hear, but the point of brainstorming is to flesh out all the ideas before you pick one. So, avoid getting attached to an idea and try to keep an open mind before forming any opinions.
  • Don’t set expectations: Of course, you want your brainstorming session to go perfectly, but that’s not always possible. And that’s okay! If you set expectations for your brainstorming session, this can actually do more harm than good because it puts a lot of pressure on you. A brainstorming session is supposed to be a fun way to come up with ideas as a group. Don’t make things more stressful than they need to be by setting expectations.
  • Avoid unproductive situations: If you don’t have some sort of structure and plan for your brainstorming session, you're basically paving the way for an awkward and unproductive situation. You want to avoid things like unbalanced conversations and award silences, as these do not make for a successful brainstorming session. Before you start your session, make sure everyone knows what the topic of discussion is so you can avoid an unproductive meeting.

The benefits of brainstorming ideas with your team

Brainstorming ideas with your team is imperative to the success of any business. All teams should aim to brainstorm more as a way to generate new and creative ideas and to improve teamwork. From big brands to small businesses, brainstorming is necessary for all companies.

Brainstorming boosts group morale, promotes creative thinking, and creates opportunities for more diverse ideas.. Make it a goal to brainstorm with your team on a regular basis and just see how many amazing ideas you can come up with.

If you need help creating successful brainstorming sessions, you can use Mailchimp. There are various collaboration features available in Mailchimp that you can use to collaborate on campaigns with your team members.

With Mailchimp, you can request feedback and add comments on your campaigns so that you can work together with your team members to create successful campaigns. Sign up on Mailchimp today and change the way you brainstorm for the better.

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