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Brainstorming sessions are useless.

They are useless unless we are intentional with setting expectations around what we would like to accomplish. When we have our creative meetings and we are attempting to maximize our creative brainstorming session, or dream session, there are a few necessary elements required to set and meet our expectations:

  • Choose the right location. – Choose a location that fits the theme of the subject we are covering. If we are talking about summer…hold our meeting in a park. Change the canvas and get in a space that inspires creativity themed to our subject.
  • Invite the right people. – Diversity wins in creative meetings. The more diverse the more well rounded the scope of the ideas and conversation. If we only have people like us we are missing a huge opportunity.
  • Set the mood. – Make sure we have the right mood: The right lighting, the right tools, the right snacks to keep energy up, the right music to aid in energy early on, and toys to play with all help set the mood. Also, start with a game to get everyone’s mind thinking creatively and out of “the norm”. Mood matters.
  • Empower a dream catcher. – Designate one person to document every idea the entire meeting. This person should be comfortable not contributing but rather be passionate about being a listener and being willing to collect every idea so nothing escapes.
  • Follow a Dream Director. A director is going to set the tone. They will ask questions and monitor energy. They will keep the target of the meeting insight and insure that we accomplish all the necessary tasks to get ideas flushed out and into the hands of the dream catcher.
  • Choose Music and silence. – Music matters. Create the energy you are looking for with music. Also create some space for silence and for people to ponder. We must be intentional with our soundtrack.
  • We will not accommodate everyone’s likes or ideas. – That’s a matter of life. Make it clear up front. Best idea wins…always.
  • Can’t succeed without starting blocks. – We can’t expect people to just start gushing ideas. We have to give starting blocks, examples, and guard rails.
  • We won’t have conclusions. – The goal of a brainstorming session, or dream session, is to start conversations not come up with conclusions. Don’t look for definitive answers look for conversation starters. Places ideas have room to grow morph and evolve. Don’t worry if you don’t come away with one obvious monster idea…that is what the post meeting editing session is for, that is where we refine.
  • The end is not the end. – Understand that the day or 2 after our meeting might be when our best ideas come out of hiding and expose themselves. Make sure we create space for these ideas to develop. Share contact info and best ways for people to share additional ideas they either had not thought of or maybe ideas they were to afraid to share.

Brainstorming starts the process. After we have met and given ourselves time to ponder additional ideas we can move into editing sessions where we refine and manipulate ideas to come up with a best option to attempt to execute. Setting these expectations should help our creative brainstorming sessions start to produce better results than we could ever imagine.

What does your brainstorming session look like?

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