5 Ways To Squash A Brainstorming Session

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Photo: Wikimedia COmmons

Brainstorming is big at most creative organisations today, but in becoming ubiquitous it has lost something. The invitation “let’s brainstorm about that” typically leads to a gathering in a conference room where the convener asks for ideas then shoots them down as fast as they come up. And brainstorming sessions have come to resemble any other meeting—veering off topic, sucking up time, and causing impatience or boredom. That’s in part because brainstorming has been compressed and made more efficient—killing its real purpose in the process. The whole point of brainstorming is to let creativity emerge and shine. You need to be very careful not to let criticism stifle that creativity. The creative process must be supported, nurtured and embraced wholeheartedly. Want to make sure your team gets the most out of brainstorming in the future? Avoid these five behaviours.

1. Pass judgment or comment.
As ideas begin to flow, you must do everything in your power to let them flow. No one should be allowed to offer any judgment of any idea. The idea-generation phase is about generating ideas, not ranking them. Just let them run like the mighty Amazon. There will be plenty of time to evaluate them later. Even if the person next to you throws out the stupidest idea you’ve ever heard, let the process continue. The slightest comment or criticism will change the mood in the room, and the group might start to clam up. The objective is to bring ideas to the surface, not to discuss them. The only acceptable comments should be a very quick “wow,” “cool,” or “sweet.”

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