Tip of the Day: Looking for “a big idea” is the best way not to find one.

How many times have you been invited to attend a brainstorm session with the same group of people who were in the last brainstorm session together (and the one before that…), and someone sitting at the head of the table says, “Okay guys, we really need to come up with a big idea today.  Any thoughts?”   No one dares to throw out an idea for fear it’s not big enough.  

Brainstorm sessions are doomed to fail without three things: 1) a facilitator — who isn’t necessarily the person with the problem; 2) clear definition of the problem you’re trying to solve and a sense of what the outcomes will be at the end of the brainstorm session; and 3) a series of exercises designed to introduce fresh perspectives and open up the possibilities.     

Great brainstorm sessions help you make random connections but there’s nothing random about the process.  At the end of a lively hour you will mostly likely have many ideas — not just one “big idea.”

One Response to “Tip of the Day: Looking for “a big idea” is the best way not to find one.”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in a meeting and someone used the term “brainstorm” when they meant something else. They often don’t know how to deal with the messiness and chaos of true brainstorming, and how to put aside judging ideas until the end of the process.

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