Best ideas are often the results of two or more brilliant minds. Of course, somebody can always claim it as his own, but while he was still in the process of formulating it, he must have acquired some snippets of thoughts from others. A mere suggestion, for example, to invent something may not come from the inventor himself. Scientists and lawyers have associates to refer to each other. Engineers and doctors have colleagues to discuss their theories. Whether it is done intentionally for a single purpose or not, the result is always one great idea. That is how important a brainstorm session is.
You may think that a brainstorm session is time-consuming, noisy, and prone to arguments. It is. However, you can certainly make it run smoothly, be organized, and fruitful. Remember, it is noisy because when you brain storm it is the mouth that speaks the ideas, and you certainly do not just have a couple of these in a session. Here are some suggestions in running a brainstorm session.
- Inform the people that you are inviting them to a session on the agenda, particularly the ideas and its parameters. This will prompt everyone attending to prepare beforehand. Hence, when the session takes place, you will actually hear people speak of ideas that do not come out of nowhere but are related to the principal issue at hand.
- Prepare a venue that is conducive for the activity. Size does matter here. A cramped boardroom may discourage your peers from thinking out of the box. Have one spacious enough for their ideas to flow freely. You can also encourage them in generating ideas by putting visuals in the room that should be related to the agenda. Do not post anything that could lead their minds astray.
- Facilitation is very important. You should have a good facilitator. He should have the qualities of a good listener and articulator of ideas that, sometimes, may not even be his. There are cases when a person has a good suggestion but does not have the skill in communicating it. A facilitator should be able to do the job for him. The first things that he should articulate, however, are the rules that cover the session.
- Bring in people who are knowledgeable in different fields or subjects related to the issue. This will create the opportunity for ideas of varied angles to come out and make the activity more holistic in its approach. There may be some arguments bolstered by one who insists on his one-sided view, but a good facilitator should be able to appreciate it accordingly while telling him to see the other side of things on which he may not be an expert.
There are other things to consider in making a brainstorm session effective. However, whatever the brainstorm session is about, whether it is about products, various sessions, programs, techniques, or strategies, the basic tips above can be applied.