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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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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