September 1

A Better Way to Brainstorm

Think back to any team brainstorm you’ve ever been a part of. What happened? Probably some version of this:

►Someone writes a problem (or project) on the board.

►They say, “OK, who has an idea?”

And sometimes that works really well, but often…well, it’s not so effective. Why?

Because while some people thrive when put on the spot to generate ideas, others perform much better when given the time and the space to generate ideas on their own. One leader I met called these “fast twitch” and “slow twitch” people.

The next time you have a group idea session planned, try this:

►Assign the problem to your team a few days in advance, and tell everyone to come to the session with a few ideas.

►At the meeting, ask someone to share an idea that they were particularly excited about.

►Once everyone’s had a chance to share, take the pulse of the group and see which ideas they’re most excited about.

If you don’t work on a team, this method works well in solo idea generation as well. Give yourself a few days’ notice, and allow ideas to percolate rather than trying to summon them all at once.

A brainstorm is a seasonal process, not a one-time event.


What upcoming project do you need to give yourself space to think about?

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