Before The Brainstorm1
This post responds to a request for the tasks to do before, during and after a brainstorm. Go to the bottom for links to the other posts.
Here are the basic tasks to get properly organised before the brainstorm.
Step 1: Determine the purpose of the brainstorm
What goal are you trying to achieve? What do you want to accomplish? What problems are you trying to overcome or address? And most of all, do you agree with the meeting sponsor or client on the purpose of the brainstorm?
Step 2: Use a creative problem-solving process
Often, the process is embedded in a creative or strategy brief. See the last page for one CPS methodology.
Step 3: Conduct research
Pull together information about the topic, the objective, the business or societal environment, and the target audience. What key insights can be drawn from this information? And, how can this insight be leveraged by turning it into an idea?
Step 4: Invite a diverse group of people to brainstorm the problem
Six to eight people are ideal, comprising of 1) prolific idea people, 2) people who fit the target profile, 3) people with knowledge of the core problem, the issues or the audience, and 4) one or two core team members. If possible, try to invite “outsiders” – people who aren’t directly connected to the topic.
Step 5: Distribute the brief to the brainstorm participants
The brief might include a pre-brainstorm exercise or an encouragement to think privately before the brainstorm. RSVP to make sure your invitees are coming.
Step 6: Prepare the brainstorm environment
Going out is usually better, but if you must stay in, do whatever you can to “energise” the space with games, toys, colourful pictures, mood boards. Gather tools and sort out the equipment, such as flip-charts and paper, markets, creative exercises.
Step 7: Designate a good facilitator to conduct the brainstorm
A good facilitator 1) understands the CPS process, 2) engages a group in a balanced discussion, 3) sees the forest from the trees, 4) know tips, tools and exercises to inspire the group, 5) is passionate and independent.
Step 8: Determine how you will select the best ideas
What criteria will you use to choose the best ideas? Some criteria are linked with the objective, the central problem, issues or strategies.
Step 9: Don’t loose time
If time is of the essence, don’t loose time confirming the first eight steps. Start brainstorming immediately so you have as many ideas as possible. BUT, don’t pre-maturely select the ideas until you have the best quality information to choose the right ideas.
Here’s what to do During The Brainstorm.
Here’s what to do After The Brainstorm.
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