Company management often employs different approaches to generate creative ideas for new projects or new products, and to come up with out of the box solutions to corporate issues. As a creative technique, brainstorming has been a mainstream tool used by groups for stimulating productive involvement among employees. Different brainstorming models have been developed over the years, including one that taps into current digital trends. But the core principle of the process remains the same despite the procedural variations.
Companies are not homogenous entities, and not all employees feel and think the same way. So, expect the brainstorming process to generate dissenting perspectives at some point. Despite these differences, the sessions should always aim for equal participation. When expertly facilitated, any huddle could end up in a collaborative mode as participants bounce off ideas and strategies with each other.
As a mechanism for generating ideas and solutions, brainstorming could be effective and transformative as long as several essential components are in place. These components include the facilitator, who plays a critical role in steering the process from start to completion. As a facilitator, they have to be mindful of the process flow and group dynamics. At the start, they should be able to clearly establish the goals of the meeting so everybody is on the same page. They should also have the gift of creating a trustful environment for open discussion.
Sharing the top of the list are the people involved in the company. They could include management and employees or just the specific divisions involved in the project or program. Another component is the venue. Always consider the meeting space as a contributing factor to the success of the session. Certain types of venues are more conducive to sharing and discussion.
Another factor are the tools. Brainstorming facilitators should have the tools and equipment to help clearly map out the process. These staples include the classic black whiteboard and colored markers which adds a spark of color in the brainstorming sessions.
Note taking is an important part of the process. Colored markers on a dark background makes the details pop out. Session facilitators can use these tools to color code sections and emphasize specific points so participants will be able to follow the process. At the end of the session, the participants can also use these tools to highlight and rank the recommendations based on priority. Once everybody has made their choices, the facilitator can wrap up by discussing the action plans with the group.
Group brainstorming sessions could either create dissension or facilitate collaboration by inspiring individuals to work together as a group. When the process is done right, it could result in high participant engagement and creative ideas flowing smoothly. Even introverted employees feel more engaged and welcome in a company when they are drawn out of their shell. In the end of an effective session, employees feel more invested in the company since management finds value in their input.