Have you recently taken part in a group brainstorming session? Do you wish these sessions were more fruitful? Our team at Trademark Management Group suggests that a supportive environment will lead to the most productive sessions.
Many people go into a brainstorming session with the notion that everyone is going to contribute equally and suspend judgment until it’s time to analyze ideas in more detail. This is the way in which these sessions should go, at least in theory. However, more often than not, politics play a stronger role. More assertive voices are given more precedence, while introverts, who often have excellent insights, feel unable to interject. Similarly, signs of judgment quickly become apparent, further eroding some individuals’ confidence in their ideas.
To overcome this problem, our managers at Trademark Management Group suggest that you announce the topic on which you will be brainstorming prior to the meeting and advise everyone attending that they are to bring with them an idea for discussion and that everyone will need to share. This way, no one can expect to attend passively, nor can one or two individuals dominate the floor.
Remind individuals that criticisms are not welcome or allowed at the early stage. If you must, use negative reinforcement to break habits. One company uses a water pistol to squirt at people who scoff at newly presented suggestions. Other companies advise that at any stage, if someone is critical of an idea, he or she must present an alternative.
Brainstorming can deliver exceptional and innovative ideas, provided it is done in an environment that is supportive. Be sure everyone is engaged and all ideas are presented before critiques begin for the fullest benefit.