Tools and Techniques to Optimise Brainstorming Sessions

Enhance business performance and innovation with the latest brainstorming tools and expert techniques to yield creative and original ideas

Brainstorming is the act of one or more individuals considering a problem in an attempt to find a solution. It is an essential strategy to ensure enterprises stay informed, progressive and relevant among their clients and competition. Yet, for such a necessary strategy, brainstorming is often taken for granted nor given the commitment it requires.

Fortunately, accountancy solutions firm Sage have summarised expert strategies to help businesses get the most out of their brainstorming sessions, while year-on-year rises in global investment into business productivity equipment and software is making mind mapping more engaging, accessible and affordable.

Essential Strategies

While no brainstorming session can ever be scripted, event leaders can implement numerous strategies to create an environment conducive to creative and innovative thinking.

  • Insist on preparation. Asking employees to attend a brainstorming event already full of inspired ideas defeats the purpose of the brainstorming session and is only likely to yield tired or recycled solutions. However, session productivity can be maximised by ensuring invitees have already read any essential background materials ahead of time.
  • Mandatory but diverse attendance. Sessions should be limited in size, especially in large businesses, but hosting a session of ideas shouldn’t be restricted to those that are perceived to be more imaginative. Experience counts, too, so invite representatives from all departments, age groups and skill level.
  • Use multiple methods. Some people are inspired when they debate ideas to think creatively. However, others prefer isolated tasks while some need visual or kinetic stimulation to feel inspired. Mix up your materials and exercises to appeal to everyone in the room.
  • Set a time limit. Having too much time and freedom can breed laziness, as well as distracting from other tasks that need to be achieved in the working day. Set a time limit to apply some pressure. Better still, create a competitive element by getting teams to pitch ideas against each other.
  • Encourage ongoing communication. Not all eureka will come in the session. Instead, keep lines of communication open afterwards, so employees know they can share their moments of inspiration whenever they arise.

Technology and Equipment

Of course, strategies are not the only thing to consider when hosting brainstorming events. Technology has not only developed to hasten the creation of mind maps while using fewer resources, but has also overcome modern business challenges and demands.

For instance, cloud-based and browser-based software tools allow teams to communicate, collaborate and interact with digital tools remotely, removing geography as a barrier. Many of these tools offer server-based packages, as well, so security isn’t a problem for those that need to discuss sensitive information. Software service are frequently either free or offer free trials, while others offer better rates the more licenses an enterprise purchases.

For businesses willing to invest a little more capital into helping teams share ideas more easily, they can consider purchasing smart equipment. Digital whiteboards work the same way as traditional whiteboards, and so appeal to creative meetings where ideas are coming thick and fast, while allowing anyone with the QR code to view the screen’s contents from their computer. Remote users are also able to offer their input and suggestions. Especially creative organisations, from architects to artists, may even want to consider digital displays and virtual canvases as a way of enabling interactive input onto individual and group projects.

Following these strategies and using these tools and equipment are a key step to improving the productivity of brainstorming sessions, with the added influence of helping employees to feel more valued and considered with regard to the direction and strategy of the business.