Brainstorming is an integral and critical component of team dynamics. As a manager, it’s up to you to steer the course on how these meetings go. Here are some strategies to share with your team members to build productive and creative brainstorming:
- Encourage team members to share any idea that comes to their mind.
- Remind employees to build on the ideas of others.
- Avoid criticism. Inform your team to actively listen and respect all ideas.
- Strive for quantity instead of quality. Research shows that groups that focus more on the number of ideas produce better quality ideas than their counterparts.
- When an idea runs dry, restate the problem at hand, and encourage more thinking.
- Prompt those that are not talking to also contribute. Their ideas are important too!
- When someone says an idea, ensure that they also explain it to the whole team.
- Remind all participants to stay focused on the task at hand.
Share an embarrassing story prior to brainstorming! In a research study, “embarrassment teams generated 26% more ideas spanning 15% more use categories than their counterparts.” How? Because these stories allow team members to let go of their inhibitions and dive into more creative ideas. You can lead off meetings this way, and encourage other team members to follow suit.