What is brainstorming, how and when to use it in business?

Post Image

Knowing what brainstorming is and doing it well is part of every successful entrepreneur’s routine. Good results come from the best ideas and it’s impossible for a single person to have all the best recommendations for a business.

There are several different steps and techniques to apply in a brainstorming meeting. You don’t have to use them all, but having a sense of each one can increase the efficiency of your business processes.

That said, read on to understand what brainstorming is and how to make the most of it in the world of entrepreneurship.

What is brainstorming and how to do it?

The term brainstorming came from an advertiser in the 40’s and means “brainstorming”. In other words: it’s the best technique to scale knowledge and come up with new ideas.

Every brainstorming session, ideally, needs a diversity of thought. It’s not much use preparing your brainstorming if they are similar to each other — because there are people from the same social classes, with identical roles, homogeneous ages and similar personal positions.

Don’t be afraid to invite employees from other sectors, younger or older and from totally different backgrounds. The more ideas that are different from each other, the richer the meeting will be.

Types of brainstorming

There are basically two different types:

Structured

It works in rounds, that is, participants expose and defend their ideas one at a time, in order. Everyone is encouraged to speak up and the downside is that it leaves more reserved professionals in an uncomfortable position.

Unstructured

It does not have a speech order among the collaborators, nor a time limit for each contribution. If your partners are more energetic, there may be times when one person interrupts the other. But there is a technique that alleviates this problem, you’ll get to know it later in this article.

4 Steps to Productive Brainstorming

Almost every brainstorming session can be structured as follows:

  • State the problem

After gathering the members of the meeting, expose the problem and explain how you intend to solve it, in this case, with brainstorming. Show how will be the moments that will follow, many do not know or just forget how collective brainstorming works.

  • Allow time for ideas to form.

Let people feel free to let their thoughts flow and suggest possible solutions to the problem. This can be done orally, giving the chance for everyone to speak and listen to each one in their own moment, or in writing, by brainwriting.

  • Register and appreciate the ideas collected, without judging them

If brainstorming was carried out verbally, write them down, or pin the notes, in the case of written brainstorming, on a board visible to everyone. Avoid judging the suggestions, just focus on putting yourself in each contributor’s shoes.

  • Select the best ones and justify

Give objective feedback on each idea generated, highlighting a positive point and justifying if not chosen, including in the case of duplicates. Finally, thank everyone for participating and closing the meeting.

Tips for brainstorming online

Did you know that brainstorming can also be done 100% online? Of course, it has its limitations, it doesn’t have the same quality as a face-to-face meeting, but you can solve your problem with this collective meeting even from a distance.

Discover the resources that can help:

Tools

  • Slack

Slack is a channel-based tool that has the ability to connect a variety of applications. Instead of ‘zapping between apps’ like you’re switching TV channels, talk to your partners in one place. Its downside is that integration with other apps (such as Google and Dropbox) is only available in the paid version.

  • MindMeister

It is a collaborative mind map tool. Not only can you intelligently layout your ideas on the map, but you can also enter the proposals of everyone else in the brainstorming meeting.

  • Miro

Miro works as a combination of these two tools, Slack and MindMeister. The platform allows both a video call with multiple participants and collaboration on a panel at the same time. This panel has several theme options, so you get the ‘face’ of the brainstorming meeting.

Brainstorm variations

Once you and teams are familiar with traditional brainstorming, explore these techniques that can further expand meeting productivity.

  • Teleport

In this brainstorming technique, presenting the problem as it is not enough. Fit the problem into different realities, like a different country or planet. Adding complexity and inventing more factors to problems encourages the birth of new ideas, which is what traditional brainstorming is all about.

  • Hat technique

Remember unstructured brainstorming? This technique is excellent for avoiding chaos in this type of meeting. She proposes giving members colored hats so that each one has a unique function, without conflicting with other people. In practice, you can just communicate or give a colored pen, something like that, to signal that:

  1. Blank: this person will be assigned the available data and information, detecting failures and analyzing trends.
  2. Red: This individual will be in charge of analyzing the problem from the perspective of intuition and emotion.
  3. Black: this will be the professional responsible for the negative points and disadvantages of the ideas raised.
  4. Yellow: This member will now observe the strengths and strengths of each of the ideas.
  5. Green: will be the employee who will be dedicated to innovation, making ideas more creative.
  6. Blue: will be the person who leads the meeting, changing the members’ colors if necessary.
  • Crazy 8

In this variation, there is a little more pressure, in the good sense of the word, on the members.

Each participant will have a sheet of paper that should be folded into 8 parts, forming 8 small rectangles.

After that, with their cell phones, they each set a timer for 8 minutes and start writing an idea for each square on the sheet.

At the end of the allotted time, everyone must stop writing and will have up to 3 minutes to present each idea.

Although it seems like a more difficult way to extract ideas, this limitation of time and space on paper tends to encourage this recovery of proposals — in addition to making the meeting more dynamic and fun.

Good habits

Some practices can help you to have an enriching brainstorming and, as a result, beneficial to your business.

  • Prioritize quantity over quality

Brainstorming is an intense meeting in which participants must contribute as much as possible. Therefore, avoid discouraging activities by letting you know that an idea is repeated or that it doesn’t work. Leave to do this at the right step.

  • Appreciate the flow of creativity

Brainstorming is not like any meeting. How many meetings do you have the opportunity to have the participation of so many people at the same time? So, do not answer calls, avoid the flow of people at the entrance of the room and look for a quiet and uninterrupted place to carry out this activity. All of this is important to keep the participants’ line of reasoning intact.

  • Putting winning ideas into practice

It is extremely important that you take the proposals that have emerged seriously. If you don’t move forward, you will have less partner involvement in upcoming meetings, even if they are not brainstorming. Furthermore, the time, energy and money involved in the meeting is wasted.

  • Suggest Reconstructions

Just as it is recommended to avoid the judgment of ideas, on the other hand, it is advisable that you encourage members to refine possible solutions among themselves.

Did you understand what brainstorming is? The method multiplies knowledge, in a systematic and rich way, in order to raise the level of your business. Use it when reviewing your goals in a marketing plan, when devising a launch, among others.