Don’t Make This Common Brainstorming Mistake That Leads to Failure

Don't Make This Common Brainstorming Mistake That Leads to Failure

Imagine you’re leading a brainstorming session at your company. You want to come up with growth strategies for your startup, so you gather your team in a meeting room, generate lots of ideas, and choose the most promising one. Many small business owners use that approach, but unfortunately, it often doesn’t work. In fact, it makes your team less creative.

The usual method – where the group generates ideas together – doesn’t work because group members influence each other’s suggestions. Your brain solves a problem by retrieving relevant memories that might lead to a novel solution. When someone else suggests an idea, your mind limits itself to related memories, eliminating ideas you might have considered and impeding the creative process.

An effective group brainstorm circumvents that trap. It includes a four-step process that promotes creativity and independent thought:

Step 1: Think independently.

First, ask each person to generate his or her own ideas before the group comes together.

Step 2: Share all ideas.

Next, ask each person to submit his or her best ideas. Compile them in one document, and then send them to the group via email or a Wiki page. Suggestions that might have been overlooked in a meeting will have a chance to be seen.

Step 3: Review separately.

Before you meet in a group, ask each person to take notes on the other ideas. Have them look for the potential advantages of each idea or solutions to potential problems.

Step 4: Discuss together.

Finally, now it’s time to bring the group in for the brainstorm. Ask each person to suggest ideas that seem the most promising, then debate the pro’s and con’s.

Because each person reviewed the ideas independently, you’ll have a more fruitful discussion. When you do settle on a solution, the group will be more likely to support the outcome.


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