Strategic Brainstorming sessions are meant to unleash the boundless imagination of your team. It is a process that needs to be cultivated over time and not just an instant EUREKA moment that happens with bean bags and writing on glass walls.
Inspired people create inspired work.
I like to refer to my PIECE Model I use for Ideation.
Great ideas are born when apply the 5 fundamentals below:
Here are a few ideas I love to share with my clients to prepare for an inspirational brainstorming session with their colleagues:
ONE: Kill the Rock Star
Leave the ego’s behind. When you free everyone from ego’s you will have a real breakthrough. Bring in a water gun or a noisy rubber duck to create a point of order in a fun way, without offending anyone.
Always remember to create an environment where you can unite different personalities, ego’s and positions and get rid of the superiority complex.
TWO: Adopt a Millennial
Millennials and the Digital Natives will always give you a fresh perspective on consumer behavior and the use of technology. They will point out what’s hot and what’s not.
Preparation is key to a successful brainstorming session, and it is always a good idea to allocate groups before a session, to prepare together. To make an impact each group are required to adopt a millennial for the purpose of the strategic session, and explain the purpose behind it, so the millennials are valued in the process.
I quote Mark Hancock, Head Planner of Google Play:
“It’s old things in a new way or new things in an old way”
This is the combination of ideas that will flow when you apply this approach.
THREE: Create a Stage
We all love a bit of entertainment and drama. As an ice breaker, why not give each group a problem the business is facing and ask the group to re-enact the problem in the beginning of the session.
This is a great way to break the ice and allow for the minds to open for problem solving.
You can incentivise the best re-enactment and make it fun.
FOUR: Survival Kits
Prepare a little “survival kit” to hand out to the everyone.
Here are some ideas:
Rubber band : To remind you to be flexible
Balloon: To remind you not to blow up
Smarties: To help you make good decisions
Sharpie: For the sharpest mind in the room
Red Bull: For the extra energy you may need
It is just a fun way to set the tone of your session
The next 2 steps are aimed towards the facilitator who play a very important role in the proceedings of the brainstorming session, and need to ensure that the process flows.
FIVE: 5 Senses of Facilitating
The 5 senses are a very good tool to use to unleash instinct. Think of ways to bring in each of the senses in the session and incorporate it to raise the awareness levels. For example, you could play the “ROCKY” song or do a war cry every time you guys strike an AHA-Moment. When the room get’s dull you can get people to do a fun activity. You could have clay or lego in the room and let people create their perfect customer experience.
SIX: Do it the Leonardo da Vinci Way
Leonardo da Vinci is known for his beautiful paintings, contribution to innovation and methods that are today the roadmap to successful business strategy.
He was an engineer and an artist who managed to create mesmerising art combining science and art like the MONA LISA that could follow you anywhere in the room, no matter where you are.
Here are some tips to bring the science and art to life as a facilitator:
a) Do your research before the session. Look at 100 steps and 100 scenarios, go through Hello Computer, your social media platforms and understand what customers are complaining about. What you want to improve? Look at the data analysis and research reports and create cheat sheets for your teams before the session to familiarise themselves with the insight online and offline
b) Bring some case studies to show for each phase of the session to inspire the thought you want to provoke. You might want to use the case studies to show how other brands have resolved these issues…Don’t Copy, but do Simulate, Innovate and Elevate
c) Get the best out of the room. If you see someone is not engaging, get them more involved. You might find that this person is intimidated by the leaders in the room, and you need to find a way to manage that.
In closing, if you want people to give you their best, you need to take them out of their stressful environments and create an environment for ideation. This needs to be something exciting and creative to look forward to.
We as human beings have an urge to solve problems and if you make an effort for problem solving, the answer will follow.
I hope you find these ideas useful for your next brainstorming session
If you need assistance and guidance on facilitating your sessions to unleash innovation and transformation, give me a shout on: