Inc. Magazine recently had a great article on brainstorming. Here’s part of it…
Brainstorming is big at most creative organizations today, but in becoming ubiquitous it has lost something. The invitation “let’s brainstorm about that” typically leads to a gathering in a conference room where the convener asks for ideas then shoots them down as fast as they come up. And brainstorming sessions have come to resemble any other meeting—veering off topic, sucking up time, and causing impatience or boredom. That’s in part because brainstorming has been compressed and made more efficient—killing its real purpose in the process. The whole point of brainstorming is to let creativity emerge and shine. You need to be very careful not to let criticism stifle that creativity. The creative process must be supported, nurtured and embraced wholeheartedly. Want to make sure your team gets the most out of brainstorming in the future? Avoid these five behaviors.
1. Pass judgment or comment.
As ideas begin to flow, you must do everything in your power to let them flow. No one should be allowed to offer any judgment of any idea. The idea-generation phase is about generating ideas, not ranking them. Just let them run like the mighty Amazon. There will be plenty of time to evaluate them later.
2. Tidy up.
You might be the boss, but don’t let your inner editor join the session. When you’re brainstorming, it doesn’t matter where the comma goes in the sentence, or how best to word something. The font choice, color palette, and idea’s original name are irrelevant. Editing is a left-brain activity that is completely separate from idea generation. Keep it that way. First, let the ideas come out; sloppy and uninhibited. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to edit later.
3. Think ahead.
The second an idea hits the whiteboard, you can easily become distracted by thinking about execution. You’ll wonder how the idea would come to life. What would it cost? Who would run it? What would the project plan look like? What would the financial implications be? Where would the work take place? When would we begin? Those are great questions for later, but avoid them at this stage. They are your left-brain in all its glory sneaking in and vying for a seat at the table. As important as that kind of thinking may be, it will quickly crush your creativity. Keep it out of the room.
Fear is the single biggest blocker of creativity. But social fear is pounded into us from childhood on. We learn in school that there is always one right answer and mistakes should be avoided at all cost. You need to release that fear to unshackle your true creative potential. If you’re leading the group, emphasize this before you begin.
Idea sessions can easily dissolve into wandering and woolgathering. Don’t let it happen. An idea might remind someone of a story she just has to tell. Or it might lead to taking on a different creative challenge, or discussing a completely different topic. A right-brain creative state is so rare and so refreshing that its energy and excitement can cause a team to stray.
via 5 Ways to Kill a Brainstorming Session | Inc.com
How well does your church leadership team brainstorm? In fact, WHEN was the last time your team held a brainstorming session?
I’d love to hear: does brainstorming come natural in your setting? How do YOU do it?