On a sunny Tofino beach walk during the holidays a friend shared his list of brainstorming rules.
Different people have different styles of idea generation. Some prefer quiet, contemplative time, some thrive on other people’s energy. I like a combination of both. Some quiet research time before a brainstorm gives me an informed starting point. That being said, being brought into a brainstorm blindly can be valuable too. Having no background on a topic means you don't carry any presumptions or judgments. During aasman's brainstorms we often have cameo visits from a colleague who knows nothing about the project. Their ideas really challenge the team to use a fresh perspective.
It helps to have guidelines when generating ideas in a team. I thought my friends’s list was a great framework:
1. Defer judgment – never say no.
2. Encourage wild ideas –you'll have time to weed out impossible or inappropriate ones later.
3. Listen and respond – build on the ideas of others.
4. Stay focused on one topic – a wee tangent is okay, but come back to the point.
5. One conversation at a time – hold that thought…or use a notepad if you can't.
6. Be visual – crappy doodles can hold golden communications
7. Go for quantity – you want to be confident that you've exhausted all possibilities.
8. Remember to document!
Do you have any guidelines you find useful for brainstorming?