Eight Ways to Improve Brainstorming

Original author: Richard Branson
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In Alconost, I often encounter the need to assemble a team and use brainstorming, for example, in the production of videos to find a worthy idea of ​​a script or decide how best to illustrate the announcer's text on the screen. I noticed that some of the assaults are very effective, and some complicate the solution of the problem even more. I was wondering how to solve this problem in the world, and now I came across an article by Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin , which talks about the principles of successful brainstorming.

Useful tips from the British billionaire under the cut.

When I participated in attempts to set a speed record for transoceanic balloon flights in the 80s and 90s, we found ourselves in not-so-pleasant situations. And for me, the term “brainstorming” is forever connected with the memory of how we are carried in a balloon 9 kilometers above the ground to the very center of a thunderstorm. In these panicky and invigorating minutes, the whole team was racking their brains on how to survive. Fortunately, we always managed to come up with something and get out of a difficult situation.

And although not every brainstorming session is associated with a choice between life and death, the principle is one. If you have a problem with an unobvious solution, brainstorming is a great way to use the collective knowledge of your employees and find this solution. Here are eight tips for getting the most out of your brainstorming sessions.

1. To think outside the box, avoid standard moves

Many management consultants offer regular brainstorming sessions so that you and your team have the opportunity to “think outside the box” or provide “free flight of thought”. I hate these expressions - after all, creative efforts cannot be planned. You and your employees need to strive for innovative approaches in every aspect of your work every day. And brainstorming is really good when you get stuck and can't find a solution.

2. Choose an environment that encourages creativity

I noticed that I generate my best ideas when I am on the move - traveling, studying or just walking. If you have a problem and you decide to brainstorm, get everyone out of the cramped stuffy office, which in no way contributes to creative thinking.
It is important to enjoy changing the landscape for at least half an hour before starting work, and do not forget to take breaks. Changing classes - games, exercises or listening to music - can help participants relax and return to work with renewed vigor.

3. Describe the problem, not the solution

When participants in a brainstorming session are about to create, they must have a practical goal, otherwise you will not achieve anything. When the conversation comes to a standstill, remind everyone of the problem you are trying to solve, and continue to work in the given direction.

4. Maintain fresh ideas

Rather than surround yourself with the same people on every brainstorming session, it is better to invite employees from other departments of the company to participate - it may turn out that they have great ideas. Suddenly, one of your accountants will propose an idea that will translate into a non-standard marketing strategy, or will one of the administrators talk about the changes that will help come up with a new approach to sales?

5. Make sure all opinions are heard.

A quiet man sitting in a corner of the quiet may have brilliant ideas, but until you give everyone a chance to speak, he won’t be heard because of someone screaming at the top of their lungs. Encourage listening to opinions as much as expressing them.

6. Record absolutely everything

Any ideas that arise during a brainstorming session should be recorded. All these ingenious finds will not do you any good if you forget them. I carry a laptop with me to be able to write down every useful idea I come across, regardless of context, and then review them.

7. Bring the best ideas to life

Do not think at the table - say “yes” to potentially successful ideas that have arisen as a result of brainstorming. Of course, sometimes you will be mistaken, but if you take risks, this will increase the chances of success. And before breaking up after a brainstorming session, always discuss what each of you will do to implement good ideas

8. Listen and delve into, and then make a decision.

In John Le Carre's book, "Spy, Get Out!" (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), the protagonist George Smiley succinctly described the endless postponement of collective decisions due to disagreement and controversy: "The committee is an animal with four hind legs." This often happens in a business where timely judgment is crucial.

And although I am discussing the importance of brainstorming, the ability to listen and learn from others, I often succumb to the impulse. Looking back, I see that some of my decisions to put ideas into work, which later turned out to be ingenious, were made impromptu. (They call me Doctor Yes for a reason.) In business, as in life, sometimes you have to trust your own ability to lead the company to achieve goals that others seem unattainable.

But there is a risk: sometimes I approved not the most successful ideas in the same way - following the impulse. But in general, you should carefully listen to your own intuition before acting.

In the end, you need to find a balance between different approaches: brainstorm in search of an optimal idea or act alone. Use brainstorming sessions to get a vision of your employees, get to know their best ideas, but in the end, you still have to make a choice and take responsibility for the decision.

About the translator

Translation of the article was done in Alconost.

Alconost localizes applications, games and sitesinto 60 languages. Native-language translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

We also make advertising and training videos - for sites that sell, image, advertising, training, teasers, expliner, trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

Read more: https://alconost.com

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