3 ways to brainstorm like Google, according to a Googler

The ideas that come out of a brainstorming session are only as good as the people participating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make yours more productive.

On Monday, Google Apps for Work exec Veronique Lafargue outlined the basic way Googlers go about it in a piece for Fast Company.

Here are the three main phases Lafargue points to:

  1. “Know the user.” You have to know not just what you are trying to solve, but who you are trying to solve it for. Lafargue says this means going out into the world and talking to people about the problem.
  2. “Think 10x.” This popular business maxim means that you shouldn’t think about how to improve something by 10%, but rather, 10 times. The example Lafargue gives is of Google’s “Project Loon” internet-beaming balloons. If the problem is getting everyone on the internet, a 10% solution would be putting in more fibre cables, but a 10x solution would be using a network of physical balloons to get to remote areas. That’s basically the premise of “Project Loon.”
  3. “Prototype.” Lafargue says that after brainstorming you might be tempted to just schedule another brainstorming session. But at Google, they try to get a prototype out there as quickly as possible. “It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a physical manifestation of an idea that’s designed strictly to answer the most immediate questions and test our first assumptions about an idea that seems promising.”

Read Lafargue’s full post about brainstorming over at Fast Company.

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