How to fix your most common brainstorming problems

Do your brainstorming sessions need a jump-start?

To inspire more creative and innovative brainstorming sessions, it’s useful to consider shaking up your brainstorming process to inspire new connections, or a new way of looking at the same routine –  to help encourage the kind of creativity you are looking for.

Have you been a part of brainstorming sessions like these….?

1. Our sessions fail because people find it difficult to avoid judging and evaluating ideas:

Asking people not to judge ideas is one thing, getting them to really adjust their behavior and create new habits (and an open mind) is another. Beyond teaching the “yes, and” mindset, consider starting a session with this jolt:

Research and then list out-loud the original idea for a few now-popular and successful products and services.  Test your participant’s initial reaction. A good idea can start anywhere. What would have happened if these original ideas had been judged and shot down?

2. Not everyone gets to speak – personality differences affect our brainstorming sessions:

Creating a safe environment for all personality types to contribute is important beyond measure. Consider letting participants know the topic before-hand, also allow for more small group discussion, and work to create a safe environment where everyone passes the ball.

3. It takes too long to get people in brainstorming mode:

Brainstorming “cold” is a disadvantage. Add in a game or excercise before brainstorming starts to help participants become more alert, present, relaxed, and “brain-fried”!

Playfulness relaxes group tension, and in this state, individuals exhibit less rigidity in their thinking and fewer inhibitions around ideas.

4. The room is too stiff – my people aren’t relaxed

Research tells us an environment of playfulness and humor is conducive to creativity. If your office environment doesn’t support this, that is something to note.

In addition to providing a playful warm-up, take a good look at how your environment contributes to the creativity of your workforce.

3 thoughts on “How to fix your most common brainstorming problems

  1. Hi Lindsey, My wife (Krystal) told me about your blog. Great stuff. I gave you a shout-out and followed you on twitter.

    Your suggestion to: “List out-loud the original idea for a few now-popular and successful products and services” is tremendous advice. I’ve just been reading Steve Jobs’ biography and the iPhone had its naysayers. Seems funny in retrospect, doesn’t it?

    Another suggestion re brainstorming is for folks to think about the problem individually before getting together. Numerous, peer-reviewed studies have shown this to be more effective than Alex Osbourn’s famous “brainstorming” approach.

    If I can be of any assistance to you, let me know.


    • Thanks so much for your comment and support Steve – and I agree, especially for introverts it can be very helpful to have the topic presented before brainstorming starts. As Susan Cain says, “introverts have longer runways”…

      Thank you for sharing my site!

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