The Calm Before the Brainstorm: How to Access New Perspectives to Generate More Ideas

Maybe you feel as though your brainstorming sessions have lost steam over the past couple of weeks, or maybe you’re kicking off a new project and really want to make sure that team members are on their idea A game. Whatever the reason, you need new ideas and they just don’t seem to be flowing your way. If your brainstorming sessions have slowed to a standstill, Arden’s coaches are here to say don’t give up!

Keep reading to check out Arden Coaching’s brainstorm-boosting tips for how to access new perspectives and generate more ideas below. If, after trying out our suggestions, you’re still really stuck, we recommend gathering your team for an offsite meeting. Download our free guide to offsites now to learn more about how these power-packed sessions can improve team relationships and get the group back in gear.

Work Toward an Environment of Safety and Creativity

Most people don’t readily have ideas they’re holding back on simply because the environment they’re in doesn’t feel like one that welcomes safety and creativity. If you feel as if your team simply doesn’t have ideas, it’s likely that you don’t have an environment that encourages doing so. Have an open door policy but no one ever walks through it? You need to do something more!

Creating this environment won’t happen overnight. Making others feel comfortable enough to share what they have to say is a long-term goal that requires daily effort on your part and the parts of others. Start by addressing idea sharing as part of your meeting ground rules and making it abundantly clear when you’re brainstorming and when you’re evaluating ideas for their feasibility.

Have Fun with It! Share in More and Different Ways

Your team is probably made up of vastly different personalities, including introverts who tend to sit idly by and extroverts who dominate the conversation. To generate more ideas, you want to give everyone the opportunity to share. That means getting creative about the way in which you share. Challenge yourself to come up with ideating exercises that hit on everyone’s different strong suit.

If there’s 12 people on your team, switch off between small groups week by week, with three groups of four and four groups three. And remember, no one person has to own an individual idea! At the conclusion of a session, groups can present to the team with the lead-in “Our group came up with…”

Don’t Brainstorm, Brainswarm 

If you need an in-the-moment practice for generating ideas, you can try brainswarming. Brainswarming is a collaboration technique based on how ants silently yet successfully come up with solutions. When ants find a new food source, they leave a pheromone path straight to it. Other ants pick up on the scent and bee-line (well, ant-line) there without any mix-ups.

By keeping things quiet, brainswarming encourages people to write down their ideas rather than saying them out loud. Once written down, individuals are often more confident to share what they wrote. Ideas can also be collected and read off by a group volunteer or shuffled, switched, and built on. You never know where one idea will go!