31 May 5 Ways to Brainstorm More Effectively
Brainstorming unsuccessfully is about as common as waking up to an overcast sky. Sometimes, brilliant ideas naturally flow from our minds onto the drawing board. Other times? Well, not so much.
We’ve all been there and thankfully, there are ways around this kerfuffle!
Integrating the following ideas into your creative process can make brainstorming a lot easier during the tough times.
Determine your problems and goals
Before you can come up with ingenious concepts you have to decide why you need them. Ask yourself (or your team if you’re working with a bunch of people) what goals you’re trying to achieve and what problems need solving. Fully understanding these – or at least having a general idea about them – will help you stay focused. Spending time on vague or unrelated concepts are the biggest time-wasters. However, you won’t know what’s important or unimportant until you know what you’re working toward!
Work independently at first
Unless you’re forced to work with a team right off the bat, it’s best to conceptualize ideas before convening with a group. This is for two reasons: 1) to avoid getting off topic, which is inevitable if no one has prepared anything to say, and 2) to ensure everyone’s ideas are brought to the table. Otherwise, it’s common for one or two people to dominate the conversation, potentially directing the outcome of the project as a whole.
That isn’t to say these people try to drown out other people’s voices. It’s just that preparing your own ideas in advance will ensure wider arrays of solutions are taken into consideration before it’s too late.
Practice reverse brainstorming
Even if you have a general objective, trying to come up with ideas out of nowhere can be difficult and strenuous. If you’re running into this problem, it could be time to temporarily forget about good resolutions and instead conjure up the worst ones possible.
It’s a lot of fun.
For instance, if you want to market a new car, think of all the ways to make people hate it. Once you do it’ll be much easier to rework your campaign in a positive way.
Create a mental map
You can practice this step independently or with a group. It essentially involves picturing where you’re currently at in the brainstorming process and where you want to be in the end. From there, you just need to fill in the gaps. Determine what questions still need to be answered and if any other possible problems could arise. Being general and specific in this pursuit will give you the perspective needed to enhance your project development.
If you’re truly stuck there’s nothing wrong with observing how other people solve similar issues. The internet is a great resource, as are books, lectures, and even your competitors! Although we would never recommend copying others (and we know you wouldn’t do it anyway 😉 ) this practice can help you attain further insight into your problem as well as inspire new ideas.
Sometimes, brainstorming is tougher than it needs to be. But with the right problem-solving tactics and mindset you can be well on your way to creating that thing you’ve always dreamed of.