A good brainstorming session

September 3rd, 2015


“One of my favorite marketing activities is a good brainstorming session.  Colleagues love to solve problems, and some of the best ideas come from a fun, energetic, no-rules opportunity to discuss potential solutions.  It’s such a welcome break from the left-brained world that we typically live in: answering emails, looking at spreadsheets, developing presentation slides.  What makes a great brainstorming session that allows us to tap into creative ideas?  What are some good, simple steps to implement during a brainstorm?  Read on for more details.

  1.  Invite attendees with diverse experience.  Invite colleagues from your sales team, regulatory, legal, medical, market research, patient advocacy, etc.  Limiting invites to your marketing team might lead to the same ideas and create limitations around regulatory and legal guidelines.  Consider inviting employees from other brands, too.  They will contribute fresh ideas and experiences. With larger groups, consider breaking down the group into smaller teams of six.
  2.  Set an objective and time limit.  Determine the problem the group is trying to solve and try not to be too specific.  For example, “How do we increase sales by 10% in 12 months?” is clearer than “How can we improve?” but not as specific as “How do we create a multi-channel approach to increasing sales by 10% in the next 12 months that complies with legal and regulatory guidelines?”  In fact, I recommend that you avoid legal and regulatory guidelines during your brainstorm, and allow your teams to explore all ideas freely and without rules.  And set a time limit at the beginning of the brainstorming session.  A good brainstorm lasts about 20-30 minutes.
  3.  Avoid criticism.  This is the toughest one.  With all of the legal and regulatory hurdles in place, the tendency will be to point out the challenges presented by each idea.  In a brainstorming session, all ideas – good, bad, silly, fun –  are welcome and noted without judgement. To foster participation and innovative ideas, give all of your participants sticky notes to write down ideas down and easily group them on easels.
  4.  Debrief and select the best ideas as a team.  Give everyone a say.  Consider giving each participant five points with which to vote on the five ideas they think will have the biggest impact on the problem. Circular sticky dots are an easy way for team members to vote.
  5.  Follow up.  After your debrief, remember to follow up with your brainstorming team.  What ideas will be implemented?  How did the ideas change after the brainstorming session?  What was the impact of an idea that was implemented?  Who is responsible for taking action on the ideas?  How can the group continue to provide input on ideas that will be implemented?

A brainstorming session is a great opportunity to motivate a team and bring people together.  Consider conducting one during a sales meeting when people are already chatting and collaborating in person.  To add an interesting spin, provide an opportunity to choose ideas that were the funniest, most innovative, or the wackiest, and offer prizes like cool branded swag.

Finally, remember that the right supplier can help you bring a great brainstorming idea to life. tealbook can help you find the supplier that meets your specific requirements.


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