Before the Storm
- Be clear on your objectives and craft all your pre-work and session exercises accordingly.
- Assign pre-work with expectations that it actually gets completed. Pre-work should provide context and get people's creative juices flowing before they even arrive.
- Invite a diverse group (different departments, different teams) but keep it to a manageable number.
- Secure an inspiring venue. The 5th floor conference room does not cut it. Ideally, you should get out of the office environment to a place with space, natural light, and novel views.
During the Storm
- Set ground rules and expectations up-front. E.g all cell phones off
- Create a comfortable and fun environment that encourages free thinking. Dispense with formal/rigid seating. Have toys and creativity enhancers on hand.
- Provide nourishment and refreshment regularly.
- Monitor energy levels and take breaks and/or do energizer exercises as necessary.
- Enlist a dynamic and fearless moderator. John Broderick is one of my personal favorites and the folks from ?What If! are amazing.
After the Storm
- Let the ideas marinate. Fully formed ideas are not likely to come during the brainstorm session itself.
- Assign a core group to internalize the output from the session and massage them into more concrete output.
- Keep participants from the session in the loop. It's great for their morale to see the final fruits of their labor.
- Catalogue and share both the raw output and the finished ideas with others. Your brainstorm session may inspire new perspectives on challenges they are dealing with.
Need help pulling together a killer brainstorm? Give us a holler!