Even the most creative people run out of ideas. This is typical in workplaces that require seething new ideas on a daily basis. So, during the days of creativity block, brainstorming sessions can give enormous help. However, people who frequently go to brainstorming meetings know that there are times when the get together of minds aren’t always useful. Some brainstorming sessions can be a challenging mind squeeze. There can be meetings where the group can’t come up with brilliant ideas, and the members end up exhausted. Such brainstorming sessions will turn out like a waste of time, leaving everyone drained. On the other hand, good brainstorming sessions result in an energy boost.
There are useful ways to make sure that each of the brainstorming session will turn out great. Creativity flows in a magical way, and that doesn’t only involve gathering the team to sit in a conference room. To make sure that brainstorming sessions will result to new, juicy ideas, it must transform how the mind works from its usual pattern.
The following are simple tricks to help your team come up with brilliant ideas when gathering a brainstorming session:
Begin with bad ideas
Starting the brainstorming session with bad ideas will change the atmosphere to a more comfortable one. Encouraging the team to throw out all their ideas, no matter how bad or absurd it is, is also a good way to break the ice and lift some tension. This trick will also help other members feel at ease when contributing concepts without the fear of sounding stupid. According to one study, the feeling of apprehension when people of power are around the meeting can cause a major productivity loss. Thus, allotting at least 10 minutes of pitching bad ideas will make people loosen up. You may begin with throwing out a bad idea yourself, so your people can easily follow. This will change the atmosphere to a playful tone, rather than a formal one, thus helping your team become comfortable in opening up.
After pitching the worst ideas, having a few good laughs, and loosening the tension, you can now shift the focus to coming up with the best ideas. This time the creative juices have already started flowing and everyone is comfortable with sharing their thoughts. Besides, sometimes the best ideas root from the bad ones, so it’s worth a try.
Breaking down or building up ideas
If you’re trying to come up with as many ideas as possible, the best way to do it is to break a few ideas into more. You can as well build up many ideas to come with the best, few ones. If you’re starting out with a general theme, you can branch this chunk into smaller pieces so you can have plenty more ideas to choose from. The other way around, however, may involve getting a more specific idea from multiple, broader suggestions.
You can do this by letting the members of your team write down their ideas on a piece of paper. These papers with two or three ideas in it will then be traded to another member, where the ideas will be built further. The papers can be rotated for several times, where discussions can be based to come up with more ideas.
The power of word games
Playing word games can be a powerful way to get out of the idea rut. Adding games to your brainstorming sessions will lead to the original and new ideas, as it initiates the way to out-of-the-box thinking. One way of performing word games is by creating a ‘word storm.’ Begin with a single word, where a couple of words are derived. Throw out every word that comes to the mind without overthinking. You may consider the function of the word, or how it’s used in metaphors when coming up with new words. The important point when playing this game is to do it creatively. Make sure to have fun without squeezing the brain too much.
After coming up with a bunch of words, you can group them together based on how they are related. The goal is to come up with the most original words or phrases associated with the project you’re working on.
This online tool called Word Storm can be used when creating a visual map of the words you have gathered. This tool will let you save your work, export and send to meetings. Creating visual maps of the word games are useful when you’re trying to see and create ideas. Visual maps can start from a single word where a diagram with branching words can be constructed.
Another version of word games is called essence words. These are composed of terms or words that represents the personality or spirit of your project or aim. These words will help ignite new ideas down the line.
Utilizing mood boards
Creating a mood board is one way of sparking emotions to come up with fresh ideas. Additionally, it has been proven that visual arrangements with colors and imagery can help enhance the information recall when it comes to learning. Mood boards are one of the most common visual prompts used when brainstorming. Especially in design and branding concepts, creating a mood board is an efficient way to get the creative juices flowing.
A mood board can be a physical board or it can be done virtually (e.g. Pinterest). It is a collection of images, textures, words that is associated with the theme, topic or idea. A mood board can as well branch out to many other related ideas. This app called the Mood Board can help you collect and organize materials that you need for your board.
Play impromptu games
Letting your team play fun, impromptu games will let their creative juices gush out. The more playful and relaxed the environment is during your brainstorming sessions, the more your members will share their ideas.
This has been proven by Corey Blake, the CEO of RoundTable Companies, when his team’s brainstorming session included improvised games, he told The Huffington Post, “That experience opened our minds and readied the team for play before diving into more traditional brainstorming,” Blake said. “The result was a deeper dive into our exploration and more laughter and fun, which increased our aptitude for creativity.”
Improvised games will result to your team feeling relaxed during the conference. This way, the members will feel more energized when they shifted the focus on the topic on hand.
Doodles have deeper and more significant effects to productivity and creativity than we have ever imagined. Doodling doesn’t only boost the creative insight, it also improves attention span, and gives room for short term and long term memory.
The author of The Doodle Revolution, Sunni Brown, wrote that, “When the mind starts to engage with visual language, you get the neurological access that you don’t have when you’re in linguistic mode.”
Doodling helps break the traditional mindset to come up with fresh and brilliant ideas. The brain will think about familiar things, but in a different way, that inspires unique notions.
According to Jennifer Miller, who writes for Fast Company, one way to doodle is to “Take two unrelated things, like elephants and ice cream, and draw them in their atomized parts.”
“Then create drawings that randomly fuse these parts together. Like trunk-cones or melting ears. Brown has used this technique to help journalists think up unique story angles,” she added.
When doodling, you can also break a single object into tinier parts. For example, when you start with the word ‘dog’, you can draw its different parts such as its tail, paws, or collar. Shifting your mindset to the different portions of that object will allow you to view the object in a new way.
Changing the physical environment
A shift in the physical environment can affect how the brain works. According to neurologists, a different environment can speed up the rate of creating new neurons and neural connections. Meaning, a change in the physical environment, and where you conduct your brainstorming sessions can directly affect the result of the meetings.
For this trick, you may want to have a brainstorming session in rooms or locations where you don’t typically conduct meetings. If changing rooms is not possible, you can make little changes to the usual room, such as changing the arrangement of chairs, or hanging new posters. Another way is to let your team walk around or move while brainstorming to boost up their creative juices.