In a world that embraces creative content, one of the best ways to leverage the many smart and savvy resources in an agency like Matter is to hold a brainstorm. Inviting a group to discuss new and exciting ways to bring a message, product or platform to key audiences always yields valuable results. That is, when the brainstorm is a well-run! Here are a few ways to make certain that your brainstorm is a good use of time and energy for those who you’ve invited, and that it will generate sought-after creative results:
First, provide content that can be considered in advance of the actual gathering. While springing a subject/situation on the crowd may elicit some on-the-fly idea creativity, it’s smart to share key information in advance of the get together so those inspired to research the category may do so in advance. You are catering to the crowd who likes content in advance of ideas flying around a room, and you’ll get more out of this particular gang if you share some information beforehand.
Second, bring your enthusiasm and be high-energy. Your gang needs to think out of the box, so the brainstorm leader should inspire the crowd to bring their best creative thinking. Energy and enthusiasm go a long way, and will inspire ideas that are unique and impactful. Also, high energy sends a positive message to those on staff who you’ve invited to attend but are sacrificing part of their workday to participate. They should know that you appreciated their willingness to be a part of the idea generation, but also that the topic is exciting!
Third, be rigid in your approach that “every idea is a good idea.” That expression doesn’t mean that every idea will be seriously considered or will ever be discussed again. That being said, you can steer the discussion in a way that less-than-ideal suggestions are seemingly embraced as options, but put on a significantly different list when the brainstorm is over.
Fourth, when in doubt, have a drink (or three) as part of the process. There’s a layer of inhibition that is removed with a beer, cocktail or glass of wine, and that directly applies to a creative brainstorm session. Don’t be shy – share what you are thinking and mix it up with an alcoholic beverage. You might be surprised with the results! (Blogger note: This applies to brainstorm sessions scheduled for later in the day. If getting the creative juices flowing by having a drink is a serious consideration, then moving the brainstorm to the late afternoon or early evening could be another noteworthy tip!)
Finally, take good notes – and consider posting the ideas around the room during the brainstorm. You’ve solicited participation and it’s so important to be certain that you’ve captured all that has been shared by your colleagues. And, it’s further important to be certain that everyone involved is made aware of the ideas as they are shared and discussed, as often one good idea generates a whole bunch of additional creativity.
That’s my take – what other suggestions do you have for making the most of a brainstorm?
Scott Signore is the CEO of Matter Communications. You can find this blog post, as well as additional blog content on their blog called PR Whiteboard located here. You can also follow Scott on Twitter (@scottmatter) by clicking here.