(if this is a virtual meeting try to use online tools to mimic the post-it notes)
Break the Ice
Tell me a story about… What did you want to be when you were younger... Where do you want to go on holiday and why? etc.
To make sure your session remains focused, you should begin with a question. What specifically are you trying to solve?
Establish rules for the session
A great way to encourage everyone to speak up and to mitigate groupthink is to begin with silence: a solo brainstorm where each individual writes down all of their ideas on post-it notes. This should only last a few minutes. Be sure to use a timer to make sure you stay on track. As people are jotting down their ideas, the facilitator can begin to collect those post-its and start grouping them into themes and concepts onto the whiteboard or blank wall.
After the initial brainstorming session, it’s often useful to have small, circular colored stickers so that people can vote on their preferred ideas. Consider giving each person a maximum of two stickers (or “votes”) per brainstorming sprint, and dole them out accordingly.
The facilitator should paraphrase and synthesize as many of the points as possible to make sure everyone is following.
When the top ideas have been voted upon, it’s time to decide how to take action. Here are two questions the group should determine before leaving the room:
Your next big idea could be the one that makes your business take off. Getting to that big idea, however, can be a struggle. One person alone can only view a scenario from their singular perspective. That’s why it’s so important to lean on the collective talent of your team, via brainstorming.
The problem with traditional brainstorming is that it often leads to groupthink — everyone building off of one idea, instead of coming up with new and unique approaches. Developing an effective creative brainstorming process, as is outlined in the template, can help to prevent this.
Learn more about how Shopify runs their brainstorming sessions here.