Effective Brainstorming Within Your Team

Brainstorming effectively with your team members isn’t as easy as one would think. I’ve participated in many brainstorming sessions that really weren’t brainstorming sessions. The sessions ended up being individuals standing at whiteboards writing down their own ideas, disregarding or ignoring the ideas of other team members. They came into the sessions with specifics in mind and weren’t open to the opinions of others. That is not brainstorming. There is a short video from LeaderSkilz called Brainstorm that depicts this exact scenario (when you get to the Leaderskilz Web site, scroll through the list of videos until you find the one called Brainstorm).

Effective Brainstorming Within Your Team
Photo by andymangold

Brainstorming is one of the most difficult collaborative activities to carry out within a team and few people know the basic rules needed to make a brainstorming session effective. With that said though, by following a few guidelines, you and your team can make your brainstorming sessions much more productive.

  • Clarify your focus, problem or challenge at the start of the brainstorming sessions. Participants in the session are more likely to contribute ideas that are useful and relevant if they know what the end result needs to be.
  • Capture ideas on a whiteboard or flip chart paper so everyone can see them. If you’re holding a virtual brainstorming session, use a virtual whiteboard.
  • Write down all ideas. Don’t spend any time debating ideas at this point or criticizing ideas. The purpose of the brainstorming session is to come up with as many ideas as possible so accept all contributions and keep them coming.
  • Set a goal to collect a certain number of ideas during the session. For example, 50 ideas in an hour. Remember, the purpose of a brainstorming session is not to pick the best idea, but to generate as many ideas as possible. Be sure to number the ideas as well for reference.
  • When the energy starts to fade, consider diving deeper into one of the ideas already offered up to come up with some spin-off ideas.
  • Keep the mood light. Encourage people to get up and move around when they need to.
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  • http://twitter.com/michaelg Michael Galpin

    Netflix does an outstanding job of streaming the content at an appropriate bitrate (based on screen size and bandwidth). However I find their interface to be ugly and clumsy. I have a lot of movies and shows in my instant queue, and it can be painful to find the one I want if it’s not at the top of the queue already. It’s even worse to browse shows that are not in the queue. All of this could be so much better. Once the movie starts playing, then you forgot about those other issues I suppose.

  • http://twitter.com/michaelg Michael Galpin

    Netflix does an outstanding job of streaming the content at an appropriate bitrate (based on screen size and bandwidth). However I find their interface to be ugly and clumsy. I have a lot of movies and shows in my instant queue, and it can be painful to find the one I want if it’s not at the top of the queue already. It’s even worse to browse shows that are not in the queue. All of this could be so much better. Once the movie starts playing, then you forgot about those other issues I suppose.

  • http://twitter.com/JBaby_9783 Jessica Moss

    You can rate titles in the Netflix app. Tap the movie you want to rate somewhere not on the movie poster. The next page will give you a description of the movie along with the add to instant and play buttons. Tap on the stars and it will tell you to tap a star to rate this title. Hope this helps. Note this is on the iPhone. I don’t have my iPad so I can’t take you through the steps.

  • http://twitter.com/JBaby_9783 Jessica Moss

    You can rate titles in the Netflix app. Tap the movie you want to rate somewhere not on the movie poster. The next page will give you a description of the movie along with the add to instant and play buttons. Tap on the stars and it will tell you to tap a star to rate this title. Hope this helps. Note this is on the iPhone. I don’t have my iPad so I can’t take you through the steps.