5 Tips to Boost Creativity During Group Brainstorming
Creativity is the root of all successful modern businesses.
The defining characteristic of any successful company is their ability to differentiate themselves from others. Without originality, companies can get lost in the mix and be swallowed by those who aren’t afraid to break boundaries and go above-and-beyond the expected norm and “standard practices”.
There are a few things to keep in mind while brainstorming to come up with creative and innovative ideas for your company.
Begin brainstorming sessions with guidelines
- Does your company have financial limitations? State them.
- Does your project have a strict deadline? Establish it.
- Does your project require limited resources? List them.
It’s important to consider that creativity alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Prior to brainstorming, it is important to establish decision-making criteria as well as the context to understand what an acceptable idea is.
As an example: “Let’s keep in mind that we have a budget of $7,000 for this project, and it needs to be completed within 30 days.”
Acknowledge the legitimate constraints you face – whether they involve time, money or organizational assets/skills.
This gives team members clear guidelines to stick within, and allows a clear focus while keeping logic in mind. However, let’s not get too hung-up on logic while brainstorming. Establish “logical” constraints, and from that point on let the ideas flow, and make logical decisions after the brainstorming session has come to a close.
Environment is important
The right environment will help stimulate creative thought.
People who are comfortable, relaxed, and stimulated by their surroundings are known to be more creative and innovative. The right space, conditions, stimuli and aesthetics can promote creativity and productivity.
Step out of your usual boring office space – find somewhere that your team can brainstorm that takes you away from your usual surroundings.
WeWork, coworking office space company has 16 locations all around the globe and focuses on having an enriched, design-savvy and colorful offices proven to harbor creativity for thousands of small businesses, freelancers, and startups.
Don’t use “stop” words or phrases
Let’s go ahead and erase these phrases from your brainstorming sessions:
“That’s cool but…”
“That won’t work because…”
“Sure, but on the other hand..”
“But if we do that, then….”
Negative, critical or dismissive words don’t belong in brainstorming discussions because using these words will only discourage team members from openly sharing their ideas. If people are scared of being insulted or critiqued, they will be very hesitant to step forward with new ideas.
Being logical is obviously imperative in making good decisions. However, Each person involved in brainstorming should feel uninhibited while expressing their ideas, and this way, there are more options to chose from while making decisions later on down the road. The more stop words are used, the less ideas your team will come up with.
Bottom line: Stop words kill creativity and discourage ideas. Ditch them.
Instead, encourage and “add-on” to ideas
When a team member has an idea, encourage them. Use these phrases:
“I like that! Building on that, we could also…”
“If we went that route, we could even…”
“Taking that one step further, if would be cool if…”
Even outlandish ideas should be given a chance to be aired. When a team member feels that their ideas are valued and appreciated, they feel encouraged to continue the creative flow.
Let’s face it. Every idea won’t be the best idea ever, and every one might not even be realistic or practical. However, every idea is a starting point that can be evolved into something great.
Instead of negatively focusing on why an idea won’t work, think of ways it can be transformed into something useful, or use it as a launching pad for another idea.
Write down everything
Every idea – good or bad – should be accounted for.
Don’t let any important or interesting ideas get lost in the mix.
- All team members should have sketch paper available
- Use a whiteboard to take down all ideas
- Sketch or outline ideas revolving around visual concepts
- Use sticky notes to arrange ideas
Let your visual notes be a valuable tool for strategizing visual themes, making interface improvements, and experimenting with different layouts.
At Space Chimp we place a lot of emphasis on creativity. What are some ways that your team harnesses its’ creativity?