Weathering the Storm – Tips For an Effective Brainstorm

With a loud crack of thunder—well maybe it was a calendar notification—you know a storm is brewing… mostly because you scheduled this meeting. A brainstorm is rolling into the creative department.

Brainstorms are a critical part of ideation. They open up the group to different viewpoints, encourage critical thinking and can bring you out of a creative rut.

Here are some tips for staying safe as the storm ensues:

Not just those with thunderous ideas should speak. Brainstorms should be a place where all ideas are heard. Every idea is needed, even weak ideas, because someone else may be able to develop it into a strong concept. A well-rounded brainstorm includes creatives and non-creatives.

Embrace the calm in the center of the storm. Silence isn’t a bad thing, and forcing conversation during a brainstorm hurts the process. Get comfortable with some silence as participants process what’s been said so far and brace for the next wave of ideas rolls in.

Weather the storm as long as she needs. Bring nonperishable foods because you may be here a while. Some brainstorms move quickly and others take hours. If your storm takes twists and turns into off-topic ideas, let it. The storm has to run her course to get the best ideas to float to the surface. Take the time to hash out every concept that comes into your storm. To a client, an underdeveloped idea will feel like a soft breeze instead of a tornado.

Before you leave the storm, evaluate what ideas were best and have the most potential. Use those to come up with strong to-do items for each participant. You should walk into the aftermath of your brainstorm knowing how to move forward and help your ideas see the light of day.