Brainstorming sessions can be promising, exciting, and even fun. They’re an efficient way to find solutions even for the most complex problems your team is facing.
Unfortunately, if your brainstorming session isn’t properly managed, it can easily turn into a waste of time. Participants won’t be as focused, loud people will prevail, and everyone else will lose interest in contributing. In the end, you’ll be left with an empty online whiteboard.
Since nobody wants that to happen, we created this short guide to help you improve your brainstorming sessions.
Assign a Moderator
As we mentioned in the intro if a brainstorming session isn’t well managed it will go nowhere. The moderator should be someone who can be impartial, but who can also stir the conversation in the right direction.
If your employees stray away from the topic, the moderator should be able to bring them back to the main task. They’ll also keep track of the best ideas, create the next steps and get necessary approvals post-session.
Create an Agenda
Your brainstorming session should be planned to some extent. All participants need to be aware of what you’ll discuss, and what the end goal is. The agenda will also help your moderator keep everyone on track.
Try to outline the whole meeting in this agenda, it can look something like this:
- Practice brainstorm
- Describing the problem
- Q&A to inspire participants
- Idea pitching
- Expand ideas with related topics
- Wrap up and plan for the next meeting
Depending on how complex the problem you’re trying to solve with this is, you might need to schedule several sessions. But don’t get ahead of yourself.
Use Brainstorming Icebreakers
Brainstorming doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it might take some time for your team to get the gist of it. You also might have some shy people on your team, who won’t be comfortable sharing their opinions at first. Your job is to help them out.
Use some simple icebreaker activities like word associations, or have your team list every use for a brick they can think of. It might sound silly, but it will get them talking, they’ll be more relaxed, and more likely to respond to questions related to the problems you’re trying to solve.
It would be a good idea to record your brainstorming sessions. That way you can always go back to them and maybe learn something new. You can maybe include a person who will only be in charge of note-taking as well.
Use your whiteboard for as many things as possible, and don’t forget to send the recording and the session recap to everyone afterward.
Even if you don’t have much experience with brainstorming sessions or online whiteboards, the tips we provided are beginner-friendly, and we’re sure you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
And don’t forget – even though a brainstorming session can be chaotic, you should plan the agenda, get someone to moderate the meeting, use icebreakers to get the ball rolling, and document everything. Good luck and have fun!