A brainstorming session is very useful when we are undecided in the middle of a creative process. The key to success is not to follow a rigid system, but to be sure that each group has clear, actionable objectives and goals, knows what is expected at each milestone, and is given the authority to make some decisions. Don't worry if a part of the entire team has gone remote.
Actually, if we think it through, remote or virtual brainstorming sessions allow us to have an unlimited space to draw, write or express our ideas.
1. Organise a comfortable workspace or go online!
Arrange the tools you may need, such as a whiteboard with markers or a screen, some sheets of paper, etc. Get a group of people (no more than 10) who are confident to suggest new ideas together.
As things have changed a bit in recent years, don't forget that you can also do the sessions online. Online brainstorming allows remote teams to connect, collaborate and ideate as easily as ever.
2. Write down your brainstorming goal(s)
Everything you do before, during, and after your brainstorming session should refer back to your goals, and decide how many ideas you want.
3. Move your session forward
Think creatively! It’s a chance to bring people together. Give your team time to organise thoughts and generate ideas. In brainstorming, everyone is equal. All ideas can be shared simultaneously, as everyone can add their ideas on sticky notes (real or virtual) in real-time.
4. Organise all the ideas carefully
Or ask a member of the team to pick some of them to work with, analyse and decide which one you are going to implement in your marketing campaign. The purpose of the session is to create a pool of ideas to find the best one or to combine different ideas to find the appropriate solution.
Here are some of the most effective techniques:
Let’s start by writing down an idea and then draw lines connecting sub-ideas to the first one. Mind mapping is a visual way to approach brainstorming discussions.
If the session is remote, you can use shared tools like Stormboard, Mural or Conceptboard to upload different content such as images, files, videos, so you can contribute anything to the board, not just text.
Brainwriting (Slip Writing or Crawford SlipWriting)
In this technique, everyone writes down three ideas that relate to the topic of the brainstorming. The ideas can then be randomly shared with other participants. Once the ideas have made it around the circle, the group discusses them and decides which of them are the best.
This technique asks participants to come up with great ways to cause a problem. Think about what most people would do/act/think in a given situation and think of how to do the opposite.
You can begin by writing down where you are. Then write where you’d like to be. Your participants will have to fill the gap between the former and the latter with a wide range of answers from the general to the particular.
Is commonly used to improve the collaborative analysis. Do we discuss the weaknesses of the idea? Which are the strengths? Is this idea an opportunity?
Create a six-point star around a selected idea. Write one of the following words on each point: who, what, where, when, why, and how, and use all these words to generate questions and discussions.
“The Five Whys”
To explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ask your team, up to 5 times, why the problem/idea is occurring. The team should be able to provide chained answers.
“What If” Brainstorming
Find and explore the “what if” scenarios that can come out.What if this product had come up 100 years ago? What if the Internet is not working at a critical moment?
The group picks a well-known figure with whom everyone is familiar and discusses how that person would approach the idea, problem, or the opportunity you’re facing.
Round Robin Brainstorming
It’s a game in which each member contributes to the brainstorming with one idea. No one can say “My idea was already taken.” You can go back to that person at the end when they’ve had more time to think. This is a great way to encourage people to explain ideas before moving forward to the next steps.
It’s based on the belief that pressure generates more ideas quickly. Everyone writes down as many suggestions as possible in a determined amount of time. Rapid ideation avoids shooting ideas down. Finally, share them aloud or collect responses.
It employs vivid images stored in our minds from all our life experiences. At first, the members of the team will close their eyes and imagine a product. Each person will come up with a different idea. Repeat it again but make them think about the actual product. After everyone has arrived at an image of their ideal product in their mind, you may ask them to share the results with the rest of the team.
5. When the Brainstorming ends
It's time for the planning process. Your next move will be to choose the best ideas discussed during the session for action.
Choose the best ideas. Evaluate them and assign the next steps towards turning them into reality. With the proper techniques and implementation, brainstorming is an effective way to gather ideas and improve your creative process. What brainstorming technique do you use to take marketing decisions?