All organizations need to generate ideas to drive their business forward. They generate ideas in a brainstorm. Brainstorming, when done well can catalyze dormant ideas. But it can result in wasted time and resources when done wrong. How can you execute a better brainstorming session and make sure it doesn’t result in wasted time and resources?
Start by learning and recognizing the common mistakes that are made by others and don’t make them!
With that said, avoid these 5 common mistakes to execut a better brainstorming session:
- Brainstorming in a group from the beginning;
- Not including diverse perspectives;
- Generating too many variations of the same idea;
- Limiting ideation to one session;
- Selecting ideas that don’t address the target opportunity.
Let’s look at each in detail…
Brainstorming in a group from the beginning
There are many reasons why brainstorming in a group from the beginning sucks. First, people will talk over each other without proper facilitation. Second, you’ll hear crickets from introverts and the extroverts will dominate. Third, you won’t get great ideas if people can’t disagree and build on each other’s ideas.
To avoid this and keep it simple, people have to brainstorm on their own and then bring those ideas to the group when they get together. The group should build on each other’s ideas and then dot-vote for the ideas that are most aligned to address the challenge.
Not including diverse perspectives
Where all think alike nobody thinks very much. This to me is the biggest mistake to avoid because creativity is diversity of ideas, and you won’t get creative ideas in an homogeneous group. Your group should have people who are experts, but also zero gravity thinkers who have some separation from the challenge. You might think having non-experts in a group is ridiculous, it’s not. Outsiders are not infected with the Curse of Knowledge, thus have the advantage of the Beginner’s Mind.
The more diversity in the group, the more diverse ideas you’ll generate.
Generating too many variations of the same idea
At some point people get stuck generating ideas, and tend to riff on variations of the same idea. To avoid this, look for ideas in analogous contexts. What’s normal in another industry can be disruptive in yours. Ask yourself, “who else has solved a problem like this?” and then investigate how they solved it.
Limiting ideation to one session
There’s a myth that all one needs to do is have one brainstorming session. Truth is, one is just the beginning. Give ideation the time it deserves. The brain needs time to incubate ideas, this is an important phase in creativity; take advantage of it.
Selecting ideas that don’t address the target opportunity
Proper framing of the challenge needs to be done at the beginning to avoid the mistake of throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what happens. Without proper framing of the challenge, you’ll get a bunch of ideas that don’t make sense as well as wasted time and resources.
That’s it, avoid these 5 common mistakes when generating ideas and you’ll have a more productive brainstorm.