What is brainstorming and why is it important to do it?

What is brainstorming and why is it important to do it?

Learn how to encourage your team to propose new solutions for your business.

All companies have one common focus: generating new ideas for problem-solving.

But have you ever stopped to think about the actual method you use to come up with these ideas and propose solutions?

Especially in tech companies, there is a well-known technique called brainstorming, which encourages the integration and exchange of knowledge between teams so that everyone can come up with possible solutions for issues faced by the company.

Sharing knowledge in brainstorming makes it a special way to achieve collective thinking, since it makes everyone listen to ideas different from your own, as well as it makes it possible to come up with proposals that, together, will have a greater effect than separate ideas would.

If you have a team and would like to encourage them to share more their knowledge and work together as a team, in order to propose great solutions for their clients, keep on reading.

In addition to teaching how to do brainstorming sessions, we’ll also show you why this should be a constant process within your company.

Origin and meaning of brainstorming

The brainstorming concept emerged around the 1930s and was created by Alex Osborn, a major advertising executive from the United States, born in 1888.

Brainstorming is a technique or method used in meetings which has one main goal: to gather as much information as possible to solve a problem or to improve potential ideas.

It’s advisable to do it in a group meeting. However, brainstorming can also be useful if done individually, being a good alternative to come up with new ideas for businesses and solutions to problems.

Brainstorming revolves around the thought that ideas draw other ideas. So when one person shares what they are thinking, others around are encouraged to share their ideas as well.

Some unpredictable suggestions are bound to appear during brainstorming sessions, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, strange ideas can possibly spark innovative and creative solutions.

Regardless of your company’s segment, it’s fundamental to use this technique whenever possible. In addition to improving teamwork, this is a way to make the work more productive because everyone will understand what needs to be done from the get-go of each project

How to brainstorm?

It’s essential for all entrepreneurs to know all the common steps needed to have a good brainstorming session, whether in a team or individually. The 4 main steps are the following:

Index
  1. Identifying the problem
  2. Gathering participants
  3. Respecting all ideas
  4. Assessing proposals

We’ll explain in details each step:

1. Identifying the problem

Before anything else, it’s necessary to put all issues on the table.

Regardless of which dilemma your company wishes to overcome, whether it’s a solution for customers or even something to optimize your work routine, you need to establish the issue and its limits before starting the brainstorming session.

Keep in mind that the storm of ideas you’ll have do not necessarily mean there’ll be a mess. The goal of brainstorming is generating possible solutions for problems that need to converge before finding a good solution for them.

It’s extremely hard and unlikely to reach a solution without delimiting the issues beforehand.

Therefore, set an agenda for the brainstorming session and discuss each problem at once so that all participants at the meeting have a common goal in mind.

2. Gathering participants

After defining the problem, it’ll be easier to gather the participants who are fundamental to the meeting in which the brainstorming will be done.

Depending on the necessary solution, the meeting may need to have professionals from different areas of the company or it may only need one single team. That is why it’s so important not to skip the first step and plan ahead.

Let’s take a look at an example so that it’s clearer:

If your goal is to find a name for a new product of your company, the marketing team is the most creative one, so they’ll be the best pick to put together to come up with name ideas.

On the other hand, when you need to face a tech problem, you need a specialist for that matter also.

On top of selecting the correct participants for each problem, it’s essential to let all participants know before the meeting, so they can plan ahead and research the matter before the session. That will certainly make the meeting more productive.

3. Respecting all ideas

When brainstorming, there’s something that cannot happen under any circumstance: being biased against or discriminating ideas.

The act of gathering to discuss ideas need to be preceded by a shared feeling that no one will be judged at that meeting having unusual or eccentric ideas.

As unlikely to work out as they may seem, all ideas must be respected.

The proposed solution may not exactly be what you expected, but it can certainly contribute to the debate and, who knows, it might be implemented later.

Feeling comfortable is key in brainstorming, because only then will people be able to think out of the box and not be limited by feelings of self-doubt nor lack of confidence when exposing their ideas to an audience.

Therefore, the third step is to keep lines of communication always open to new proposals and to make constructive criticism only, so that everyone feels comfortable to share their ideas.

4. Assessing proposals

At the end of each meeting, it’s important to let participants know all ideas will be equally analyzed, meaning no idea will be set apart beforehand.

Also, if you are able to reach a conclusion together, even better. That way all those involved in that project will leave the meeting knowing exactly what they have to do in order to apply measures needed to reach the solution.

Also, it’s not always necessary to choose one single idea. All proposals presented at the brainstorming can be applied to your business or even none of them will make sense, and then you’ll need to lead the participants to research further before making a final decision.

The most important thing is to assess everything that was said and figure out what is the best solution for each issue that was previously delimited.

Conclusion

Brainstorming is important not only to improve your team cohesion and collective thinking, but also to solve existing problems in the company.

Discussing and sharing your company’s important projects and their potential issues with your team is one of the ways to show everyone they are essential in helping business growth.

Also, it’s possible that some issues that you would have taken days or months to solve on your own, are solved in one meeting only.

Therefore, always encourage the exchange of knowledge among professionals who work with you and encourage them to be part of the company as a whole. This is an important step in improving the climate in your work environment, as well as keeping the team working for common purposes.

Want to learn more about teamwork? Read our post with tips on having a harmonious work environment and consequently, a more productive team.

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