Being able to generate excellent proposals will make you indispensable in the workplace. Here’s a guide to help you brainstorm brilliant ideas.
Regardless of what kind of work you’re in, brainstorming excellent ideas is an invaluable skill that will make you indispensable to your employer.
When we think of the ‘a-ha’ moments in history in which some of the greatest ideas were born, there’s an underlying assumption that you can’t cultivate them. All of those fabled strokes of genius seemed to strike like lightning. They don’t appear to be something that can be induced, controlled or coaxed out. The best ideas just show up, handed down by the capricious muses, right?
That couldn’t be further from the truth. All of the greatest ideas in history were developed after long periods, sometimes years, of laying the groundwork through preparation and research. You can’t just twiddle your thumbs and expect inspiration to arrive unprompted. So Fundera has produced this excellent infographic filled to the brim with practical suggestions to help you brainstorm.
It outlines some of the most common pitfalls that can arise in brainstorming sessions. For one, groups can often dream up great ideas but may have trouble evaluating them. One loud, dominant voice may overtake the discussion and disrupt the creative flow in the room. People may be inclined to not want to speak out against ideas, or they may feel once an idea has been tabled that they can just go with that. This is something the infographic calls the “freeloader” effect.
All this can be circumvented with some strategic thinking. The infographic advises shooting for quantity – in particular, a very ambitious 100 ideas within an hour. That goal seems borderline unattainable, but aiming high isn’t a bad thing.
Sometimes, the best way to inspire creativity is to give people both time to collaborate and time to go off and generate ideas by themselves. Devote a portion of the brainstorming session to having everyone go off and cook up their own proposals.
When people present their ideas, look for opportunities to improve existing ideas as opposed to criticising them. You can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each idea and try to build upon them.
For more excellent advice on brainstorming at work, check out the infographic below.