We’ve all been there. Your boss calls you into a meeting to discuss a strategy to solve a problem. Or perhaps your boss is just trying to gin up new ideas to generate revenue. Or maybe they just want to shift the ol’ paradigm a bit.
You know the drill. Everyone share an opinion. No idea is a bad idea, except maybe Karen in accounting’s “Bring Your Python To Work Day.” That felt like a pretty bad idea, especially if mixed with Peter from Sales’ “Bring Your Tiny Dog To Work Day” idea.
But brainstorming meetings don’t have to be boring or stale! Today we’re going to discuss 7 ways to freshen them up so Bob from Building Maintenance can stop haranguing the bosses for a Fu Manchu Day. We get it, Bob. You have a Fu Manchu. Nobody else wants one.
Type 1: Brain Writing
A designated person identifies a problem or topic and the rest of the team writes their ideas down. This prevents groupthink or anchor bias from forming. This is particularly good for those of us who are too shy to share our ideas.
Type 2: Figure Storming
How would someone else handle a problem or situation? Figure storming allows the group to answer that very question. What would Teddy Roosevelt do in this situation?
Type 3: Online Brainstorming
This is a particularly opportune format as it is especially effective for groups working from home. This form of brainstorming allows everyone to contribute to a brainstorming session separately, using a program like Google Cloud.
Type 4: Rapid Ideation
This is like speed dating for thoughts. The whole ‘no stupid idea’ thing. Rapid fire thinking can help stimulate free thinking.
Type 5: Round Robin
Everyone takes a turn giving an idea. It can be a little daunting if you end up going last, but this is another way to prevent groupthink.
Type 6: Starbursting
This tackles the 5 Ws (and the 1 H): Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. This can help folks figure out the best end result once these questions are answered.
Type 7: Stepladder
This one is funky. The topic or problem is presented, then two folks from the group stay back and discuss their ideas. Then one more person joins and discusses his or her POV before the original two share what they talked about. This continues until the whole group has joined.
Not all of these ideas are perfect and most great brainstorming sessions will involve aspects of each of them (Frankenstorming?). Feel free to mix and match to solve your office’s creativity crunch.
Just don’t let Bob’s Fu Manchu run the show.
Andy Rosenthal is a Graphic Designer for Diamond Media Solutions.