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Tips to Get Everyone Involved

It often seems that certain people have the power to formulate creative, inspired ideas, but the truth is, you and I are just as capable as the next person.

Sure, unleashing your creativity isn’t always easy — especially when you’re brainstorming in a group setting.

In order to keep your business competitive and have more productive brainstorms, you need to account for different personality types, points of view, and preferred ways of learning.

To help you hold more meaningful group brainstorms, embrace the following tips and tricks. From icebreakers to games to free tools, you’re sure to find an approach that gets the wheels turning for your team.

How to Have More Productive Group Brainstorms

1) Allow people to submit ideas anonymously.

It’s a paranoia shared by all human species: What will other people think?

When it comes to brainstorming, sometimes our wildest, craziest, most unrealistic ideas happen to be our best ones. Unfortunately, many of them never see the light of day, as we are often plagued by our unproductive obsession with what might happen if we speak up.

Best defined by the concept of evaluation apprehension, this all-too-common anxiety can suck the innovation right out of your group brainstorm. To combat it, consider asking members of the group to submit ideas anonymously before the meeting.

If you’re looking for a handy tool to help simplify collecting anonymous suggestions, check out Free Suggestion Box. This easy-to-use website lets you set up a suggestion box, share the box’s unique URL with your teammates, and collect their honest feedback without revealing their identities. Check it out:

2) Ask people to come prepared.

While it may seem obvious, often times people come to brainstorms without having put much thought into the topic at hand. This can lead to a lot of awkward silences and a lot less creative thinking.

The solution?

“What the most creative companies do is tell the members of the group to come up with lists of ideas before they come to the brainstorming session. What the group is really powerful for is exchanging ideas and then having ideas bump up against one another and merge in surprising new ways that any one person might not have thought of on their own,” notes creativity expert Keith Sawyer.

In other words, by asking group members to bring a few ideas to the table, you create a launching point for more ideas to surface. To enforce this, you might want to pass around a spreadsheet for collecting ideas prior to the meeting.

3) Gamify it.

Move over brainstorming, there’s a new technique in town: Gamestorming.

This new way of looking at brainstorming opens up an opportunity for people to have fun while surfacing results. It’s visual, messy, loud, and innovative … just like brainstorming should be.
Interested in trying it out in your next group brainstorm? Here are a few exercises:

Squiggle Birds: Want to stretch your visual thinking muscles? This activity will help you do just that. [Learn How to Play]
Draw Toast: Need a fun way to get people warmed up and thinking systematically? Ask them how to make toast. [Learn How to Play]
Carousel: If you’re looking to come up with a fresh solution to a problem, this quick exercise will help you gather and share insight from all points of view. [Learn How to Play]






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