Start a productive brainstorm with these tips

When creativity is a team endeavor, be sure you’re using the best techniques to generate good ideas. Jump-start your brainstorming sessions with these suggestions:

• Let people prepare. Announce the subject of your brainstorming meeting well ahead of time so participants can start thinking on their own. Often they’ll come up with good ideas without the distractions of an animated discussion.

• Think quantity, not quality. Resist the urge to zero in on the first few ideas that sound promising. Keep the contributions coming. You may want to cover up or otherwise hide the initial suggestions so they don’t distract participants from generating further solutions.

• Inject some diversity into the process. Don’t bring the same people into the room every time you’ve got a problem to solve. Include people from different departments; choose people who take different approaches; add a mix of personalities as long as everyone agrees to remain civil.

• Make it fun. Even when you’re addressing a serious problem, try to keep a sense of humor and playfulness. A positive mood while brainstorming will encourage optimism and creative thought; stress and negativity will make people shut down and censor themselves

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