Defer judgment. The more ideas the better. Bosses, don’t hijack the discussion.
These are among the top rules of a productive brainstorming session. Before a team even begins the meeting, though, be sure to set up the room for maximum effectiveness:
1. Set out a range of writing materials. At creative firm Ideo, whiteboards and oversized sketchpads line the room. Rooms for brainstorming are also stocked with markers and modeling clay.
2. Ask participants to BYOC—Bring Your Own Cards. Cybrix encourages employees to bring their own scribbled-on 3-by-5 index cards to brainstorming sessions. CEO Tim Jones asks employees to carry blank cards around when they’re out in the world for recording thoughts as they have them.
3. Allow for some play. Karen Littman, founder of computer game designer Morphonix, puts toys in the room to encourage kid-like creativity. For a recent project, she brought in a container of Legos and encouraged a few minutes of play to spark creativity.
4. Put up a portable bulletin board to capture the ideas participants write down on paper. Hang it in a central location so people can continue to read others’ responses and add their own.
— Adapted from “7 Unique Brainstorming Techniques,” Matt DeLuca, Inc.