How To Brainstorm Successfully – Life Skills
I could be continuing on in my series on how to develop a successful Mastermind Group with this post. We’ve already talked about having a clear objective, and brainstorming comes next. Or I could be talking about the value of brainstorming as a creative process in your own life, as a topic of interest unto itself. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that whenever you have defined your outcome, it’s useful to come at it in a lot of different ways before settling on the best way. Brainstorming can help keep tunnel vision from narrowing your range of powerful possibilities and missing out on your best options.
The intent of brainstorming is to generate the largest number of ideas possible in the least amount of time. Here, quantity has more value than quality. Quality is an evaluative process. Brainstorm is idea generation at its best. Like I used to say in my How To Find And Keep A Mate seminar, eventually, even a blind squirrel finds the nuts.
In the spirit of the movie Galaxy Quest, where the Commander explains what it takes to defend the galaxy when he says “Never give up. Never surrender!” I’ll attempt to articulate the rules of brainstorming as a series of ‘Never, never, never do the following in a brainstorm!’
As often as brainstorming is used in the business arena, I still amazed to discover how few people understand how to go about it. Here are the rules:
Never evaluate the ideas in this stage, they’ll be plenty of time to evaluate later. Now, the focus is on coming up with as many as possible. When it’s time for brainstorming, you are in the most fundamentally worthwhile and high energy part of creative thinking. Everyone in the group simply lets it rip, to take the lid off their thinking and work together to create a long list of possible solutions.
Never ridicule an idea, because the craziest idea might cause someone to think of something brilliant, which in turn will make someone else think of an idea which they would never have gotten to if the first person hadn’t shared the crazy idea in the first place.
Never reject an idea
Never reject an idea because you don’t have the cash, time, talent, knowledge, manpower or resources to pull it off.
Never hesitate to share an idea. Even if it seems stupid or non-related. What often happens is that you share an idea that doesn’t seem to make sense at the moment but will once several other pieces of the puzzle are laid on the table.
Keep the ideas flowing. There should rarely be silence when Masterminding. Force yourself to keep coming up with ideas. Keep the speed up otherwise you slip into your logical mind rather than the accessing the Mastermind.
Never think small
Most people play with such small ideas that they are hardly worth acting on. Think big! If a big idea hits you in a brainstorm, then share it.
Encourage your Mastermind group by your words and action. Encourage them to come up with more ideas, encourage them by thanking and acknowledging the ideas already generated. Never say things like “oh, I’ve tried that but it didn’t work,” unless you’re trying to stop them from participating. (Don’t do that!) Instead, grunt in affirmation, say YES YES, KEEP GOING, MORE, WHAT ELSE, and GIVE IT TO ME BABY, MAKE LOVE TO THE CAMERA! – Oh wait, sorry, that’s for a photography session! – keep the energy up by keeping the pace up. What I’m encouraging you to do is to encourage and push your group during these brainstorms in order to build your group.
Once you’ve got your list, you can begin separating the wheat from the chaff. You can do this by evaluating each idea until your list is divided up. Possible evaluative approaches like ‘Will do, might do, won’t ever do,’ or ‘Most applies, applies, barely applies, doesn’t apply,’ or even “Like, dislike, interesting’ can work just fine. Bottom line is that the longer the list, the more you have to work with, and the more easily you can see each idea in the light of the others generated.
Where do you use brainstorming? What have you learned about it? Until next time and beyond, your comments and feedback are welcome.