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6 brainstorming techniques to try with your team

Maya AI brainstorming

You’ve heard the phrase two heads are better than one; it’s true! There would come a time when you and your team exhaust all your creative juices and hit a roadblock. Don’t panic! It is expected; we’re humans, after all. Brainstorming is the perfect activity to develop new ideas, discuss them with your teammates, even offer solutions to business challenges. This article will talk about what brainstorming is and how it can actually lead your team and business to success.

Brainstorming: What is it?

Since our grade school days, we’ve used it even more relevant now that we’re starting our own start-up. In the simplest sense, brainstorming is an idea-generating technique involving a group of people. It fuels your team’s imagination, sparks their creativity, and drives inspiration. You might not know it, but you’re also working out your team’s synergy and productivity with this process.

As WeWork said, brainstorming is better when done with other people. Sure, you can brainstorm with yourself, but it’s limiting and one-sided. Your ideas are debated and honed further when you’re with a group. Usually, in a group, all members are equal co-contributors. Facilitators can also be tapped to keep the session structured and organized.

What’s incredible about brainstorming is how it enables everyone to think outside the box. It creates a safe space where each idea is appreciated, giving each one the comfort and confidence of pitching wild ideas or asking dumb questions. This system takes away any limitations that might hinder creativity.

All ideas thrown at the table might not be as tailor-fit at the moment, but it serves as a jump start on getting things to move forward.

5 proven benefits of brainstorming

Brainstorming provides both individuals and teams benefits; here are some:

Encourages collaboration & teamwork

In any work set-up (especially work-from-home), the brainstorming method bridges the gap between team members and fosters collaboration. No company has ever succeeded with individualistic employees. Successful companies gather all their people together to discuss their plans because, in their minds, every person has a different take on things — it might be helpful or not; regardless, it brings them closer to the solution they’re looking for.

Creates a bigger picture

Brainstorming provides multiple perspectives on things, thus painting a bigger picture. When you think of something, and it clicks, you feel you’ve solved the problem until someone finds a loophole and counters you. Brainstorming allows everyone to speak from their experiences and viewpoints. This way, you’ll be able to approach a challenge from many, if not all, angles.

Allows creative thinking

As we’ve mentioned earlier, brainstorming welcomes all kinds of ideas (even the wildest of the wildest). Empowering everyone to share their thoughts enables them to hold no boundaries and let their ideas flow. Because constraints are removed, idea generation becomes quicker. Although not everything on the list might be helpful, certainly some would be promising.

Generates a list of ideas quickly

Brainstorming sessions are usually a timed-event, often lasting from 30 minutes to more than an hour (depending on the topic). Since it’s time-sensitive, it forces you to pitch in ideas. It’s incredible how much you’ve listed down by the time the clock strikes.

Improves productivity

Productivity starts to fade when you hit a plateau. You get stuck with an 8-5 job doing the same tasks every day. It’s only a matter of time when you lose interest and the motivation to do it again. Brainstorming breaks this monotony to keep your mind engaged. Plus, it helps you improve your social skills.

6 Effective brainstorming techniques

There is numerous brainstorming technique available that you can try with your team. Remember that regardless of the methods you apply, the rule of thumb in brainstorming is the number of ideas you’ll generate together: quantity over quality.

Brainwriting

  1. Brainwriting eliminates any kind of intimidation or doubt, as the method involves having all the members write their ideas on a piece of paper anonymously. Further, this technique sets aside personality biases the members might have and gets stuck on an idea mentioned first.
  2. Ideally, this method is excellent for smaller teams. Larger teams might be able to use it. However, a facilitator must be present to organize and categorize all the ideas collated.
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Round Robin

  1. A Round Robin brainstorming is best done when everyone gathers in one area (or Zoom meeting). Often, a facilitator’s presence is warranted to get the ball rolling. Either they start pitching in their ideas or point to the person they want to go to first. This method balances the team so that everyone will have their turn to speak up (even the quiet ones) and contribute their ideas. However, one caveat is that it can’t be avoided, especially in large teams when two persons have similar ideas. That’s okay, but if one of them can think of another idea, that would be much better for everybody.
  2. It is perfect for medium- to large-sized teams as it forces everyone to speak and interact with the group. Smaller units might complete several rounds since discussions can take a shorter time.
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Mind Mapping

  1. Mind mapping is among the most commonly used technique of brainstorming. Usually, a central topic or question is provided at the onset, then it branches off as each member provide their ideas. This technique is beneficial to visuals how the concepts can connect with one another. Moreover, your team can identify the hierarchy of the concepts needed to be executed first.

Gap Filling/Analysis

  1. Think of this technique as a bridge; you are currently here and aware of where you’re headed. Now, what you need to determine is how would you be able to fill in the gap (the in-between of your current state and end goal). Gap Filling and Mind Mapping complement each other as the latter helps the team connect the dots and ideate on filling the gap.

Reverse Brainstorming

  1. We mostly know brainstorming as a solution-formulating tool where the problem initiates the discussion. In Reverse brainstorming, there’s a shift of perspective. Instead of looking for solutions, its primary goal is to identify potential roadblocks the company or team will encounter. This technique challenges the members to think backward.

Rapid Ideation

  1. As the name implies, Rapid Ideation is a time-sensitive technique that induces productivity and quicker results since each member is given a set time to talk about as many ideas they can. It allows the team to focus on specific matters and prevents any hints of being sidetracked.

Brainstorming is a simple yet effective tool.

Who knew that this method we learned in school would still be relevant and just as valuable for us. Try incorporating different brainstorming techniques in your weekly/ monthly team huddles to spice things up. As ClickUp also found that the encouragement each of your team members to speak their minds and share. Promote a healthy discourse among the team. And last but not least, remember to have fun!

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