How to Brainstorm Your Way to Success

We in the corporate world like to throw out the term “brainstorming.” Brainstorming has always been a popular tool, and in recent years it’s become part of our daily lexicon for problem solving and idea generation. But when the time comes for us to sit down and toss out ideas, we often find ourselves staring blankly at our paper. 


Unfortunately, many of us were never taught how to brainstorm—and it’s not always as straightforward as it seems! Rarely do we get an introduction to the best practices of the brainstorming practice. This is especially true when we brainstorm with a team. Despite the benefits of group brainstorming, the sessions can quickly get derailed and become less effective if we don’t go about it properly. 


Here are a few reasons to keep team brainstorming as a vital problem-solving strategy and how to go about doing it.


The benefits of brainstorming


A good brainstorming session offers a few major advantages:

    • It unites your team. When brainstorming, everyone is striving for a common goal. And around the brainstorming table, everyone, and their ideas, is treated equally.


  • It promotes creative thinking. Brainstorming brings out the thinker in all of us. It encourages us to keep our ideas flowing and to collaborate creatively.
  • It introduces new perspectives. Team members who might not normally speak up are given an open invitation to do so, allowing you to hear multiple perspectives for out of the box innovations.


How does team brainstorming work?


As with any other strategy, there are a few rules to make this process as effective as possible.


First, start with a small team. Generally, it’s a good idea to keep groups to six people or fewer: any more complicates the process and makes the session less effective. Ideally, this will be a diverse group with varied areas of expertise, allowing a range of perspectives.


Second, keep it short. Meetings should cap at 20 minutes, with all participants expected to be ready to start immediately. There should also be no off-topic banter during the session.


Last, stay organized. The goals and context for the brainstorming session should be provided beforehand, and you should also designate a note-taker to write everything down as the ideas flow.


The basic principles of brainstorming


No matter the topic, your team needs to be familiar with the principles of brainstorming. There’s more in-depth information here, but let’s outline a quick breakdown of the principles below:

  • Quantity over quality. There are two thoughts behind this principle. First, the more ideas you come up with, the more likely you’ll hit on a winner. The second is related to the principle below:
  • No criticism. Engaging in critique and requiring only high-quality responses can feel limiting and may discourage the kinds of bad ideas that spark the good ones.
  • Actively encourage weird or unusual ideas. Thinking outside of the box means generating ideas that aren’t “normal”—and that’s not a bad thing. Innovation sometimes feels a little strange at first.
  • Shake things up. Combine, refine and improve upon your ideas. Draw connections and work to refine as you step further toward problem solving.


From here, you can shake things up with other techniques. Want to try it round robin style? Want to set a timer for more rapid and instinctive ideation? The sky’s the limit.


Of course, if you struggle with group brainstorming or if you’re without a diverse team to collaborate with, things get a great deal harder.


Fortunately, you can always reach out to another group of like-minded peers through mastermind sessions. Masterminds are groups of professionals who take collaboration seriously—and these groups offer great opportunities for brainstorming. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more!

We use cookies to ensure that you receive the best experience while using our website. By continuing to view our content, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information about how we use cookies see our Privacy Policy.