Brainstorming: You brought us here. What do we do now?

Brainstorming as a practice can seem completely nebulous, and so can quickly devolve into a practice that is completely unstructured. Like any productive practice, it takes a lot of mindful preparation and a lot of structure in terms of dealing with group dynamics and being capable of changing directions when the session isn’t fruitful. Some common questions your participants might be wondering are: What should I say out loud? Who gets to talk? When is it my turn? What if I don’t have any ideas??

I’ve already covered tips for preparation in earlier blog posts. Now it’s time to address those common questions.

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What the pour over can teach us about our software choices

I was recently introduced to someone by a mutual contact who suggested that we meet at the new contact’s office because of the quality of his pour over.

I admit that although I love coffee and drink it daily, the pour over jargon was new to me. Luckily, Google was able to rescue me from my ignorance, and I realized that I not only hadn’t been left behind by coffee aficionados and some awesome coffee brewing technology, but that this is in fact how I make my coffee all of the time.

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Training for Best Practices and Clean Data

There are a lot of things we each need to learn to be successful in the workplace. Some things just need to be memorized and recalled, like which storage closet houses the pens or the light bulbs. But most of what we need to learn is a process, from emailing to filling out paperwork to entering work orders to performing complex data analysis. This is where training comes in.

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Preparing for a Brainstorming Session: Part 3: Mindset

In Part 1 of this topic, Preparing for a Brainstorming Session, I discussed the resources you should have in place to optimize the potential of your brainstorming session. In Part 2, I discussed who to invite. In this post, I discuss how to prep the mindset of your attendees.

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Preparing for a Brainstorming Session

By definition, brainstorming is a “spontaneous” group activity in which participants try to generate as many ideas as possible, however outlandish, without criticism. Brainstorming can take a lot of forms, and the “spontaneous” part is often misinterpreted as “if you invite people into a room and tell them to brainstorm, then magic will happen.” That (almost) never works. I believe that brainstorming requires a lot of structure and planning to be productive.

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