We’ve all been there. You’ve got too many thoughts running your mind. The wall is covered with sticky notes. The coffee is running out. Everyone’s eyes are starting to glaze over. You’re all thinking about all the work that you all supposed to be doing while sitting in that room. And some of the members on the team are starting to have an unofficial competition to see who can contribute the most quality ideas.
Welcome to the reality of communal brainstorming session in most business settings nowadays. But despite it all, brainstorming is still the one specific technique that if done casually with proper guidelines, and the sessions are run by people with knowledge on how to do it well, it will be significant. So, if you can’t brainstorm ideas in your office space Philippines, take time to read this article to find out why brainstorming doesn’t work.
First off, someone says obvious solutions that should be out of the way. Since brainstorming requires every idea to be given its due, the group runs with the first idea that being said and start discussing it even though that everybody knows that it is nonsense. Before everyone notices it, half of the session is gone and wasted with nothing has really been accomplished.
Sharing ideas in a group is not the problem because it’s the out-loud part that leads to groupthink. The problem is when someone said their idea the other members started to talk about it and is no longer thinking of their own ideas. Subconsciously, they are assimilating to the first idea that being shared and it crushes originality. This process is called anchoring. This is why ideas that obvious tend to have disproportionate influence over the rest of the conversation because we tend to put undue weight on the first idea of a piece of information being presented and when the meeting is coming to an end, everyone starts to move on to more exciting ideas and then rush through them.
These low-hanging fruit has been done for a couple of times for some members of the group. Admit it, you’ve also done chiming in quickly with the thing everyone is thinking of, and then you have done your bit. Sitting back and eat the cookies while everyone else is trying their best to come up with smart ideas. As you can see, starting simple and taking baby steps is a good idea. But doing this too often won’t make you get beyond this simple stage.
Groupthink goes along with the anchoring effect which leads for individuals to think less in a group than they would if working alone. Generally, we, people just want to avoid conflicts and we simply can’t help ourselves but just to agree with an idea someone presents, even if we have better ideas of our own.
This mindset that we made us our habit has become a problem in a group situation like brainstorming. In a group, there will always be a loudmouth, someone that tends to talk too much even though it is not necessary and there are also some people who feel awkward and afraid to share his/her own ideas. It is because criticism is generally frowned upon in brainstorming which holds us out to speak up when this is supposed to be the time to help find our voice and speak up and showcase how creative we are and quick our minds are in generating ideas. Well, anyone who has ever been in such a meeting knows this is not what happens.
The loudmouth people talk first and override the conversation and then the worse thing happens when everyone goes along with what they say. Well, this is the natural order of such meetings. People conform and don’t want to face off against another member of the group, or maybe they are shy or afraid. This just proves that whatever the loudest members say goes, even if it isn’t the best of ideas. This is where brainstorming was supposed to stop, but actually, it is made worse by this group thought environment.
One of the best thing about brainstorming is that the sessions are not for expressing criticism were anyone can have an idea without any worries. This is where supposed to foster originality and let timid members of the group gain confidence and speak up without fear of being shouted down.
That is great in theory, but terrible in practice because it barely happens which leads to the exact problem of why brainstorming doesn’t work and why timid members of the group remain timid at the end of the sessions. The group should be considerate to others and listen to their ideas before shouting their own. If you won’t listen to other members it would lead to production blocking whereas other members will feel discouraged and will no longer willing to share their ideas.
There’s nothing wrong for the first persons to share their ideas but to keep on coming back on their own ideas without even asking for someone else, it would lead to nothingness. If we want people to come up with creative ideas, give them a chance and listen to them and when they share their ideas don’t criticize them. Therefore, in your office space Cebu, if you want to have true creativity within a brainstorming session, be open to one another.
The pressure is the worst one that correlates creativity. When people felt caught under pressure they felt more distracted, unable to focus on the task in hand, and they won’t be able to contribute any more to the firm’s success now that their psychological behavior is harmed. This can happen in a brainstorming session. People are under a tight time constraint and will start to worry instead of focusing on the task in hand. This happens to most of us, when we look at the clock, we feel worried that we might not have enough time to solve the problem, and the session will soon be over. Time pressure usually works, but it rarely happens in the brainstorming session. Because there’s pressure already within, with uncritical thinking and overwhelming characters, the pressure only adds to the wrong decisions being made.
So if you are someone that really loves to make your brainstorming sessions work. Here are a few things that you should do during brainstorming sessions and come up with the most creative ideas out of people.
There is no such thing as a sudden moment, everything takes time. Great ideas grow from ideas that being combined from everyone. Creativity is a stepwise process in which an idea spurs a new but closely related thought, which prompts another incremental step, growing a single thought into bigger ideas and getting closer to the solution.
Real creativity comes from simple collaboration and bouncing of simple ideas into something bigger. Your group may start with the “low-hanging fruit” just like other brainstorming sessions, but you can drive your group from going wrong by making progress and by not anchoring to the very first and simple idea. The group dynamic is important for brainstorming. Come up with an idea of your own but do not stop there, make others come up with their own ideas as well and combined the come up ideas needed together. You should set your company away from a kind of expectation setting, instead allow the creatives to explore and come up with ideas organically.
Pressure is a creativity killer, whereas given them time can help foster ideas and creative thinking. It is very difficult for people to think of new and share ideas when they are concerned about the possible negative consequences. Instead of stuffing people in a room and tell them to come up with an idea quickly, help them get past the pressure because it is critical for brainstorming to be effective. If you want to run a brainstorming session with positive outcomes, give people as much as time as they needed to prepare. They can initially think through ideas in their heads if they are pressured because they are afraid that they might say the most obvious ideas.
At the beginning of a brainstorming session, often someone will say, “every idea is a good idea.” And then there’s a collective eye roll that doesn’t believe of what is being said. While it’s not true that every idea is a practical idea, it is true that every idea can offer usefulness for additional ideas. Sometimes those ideas that are tossed out of nowhere or as a joke can be the spark that leads to a new direction and a winning idea. Maybe one piece of that crazy is extremely practical and solves a critical problem that nobody had thought of before. So allow, encourage, and use every idea, even if it’s crazy.
We’ve all been in this situation; it’s the end of the session, we’ve created a long list of ideas, and someone volunteers to print out and distribute the list. And… that’s the end. There’s no action at all. It’s fairly demotivating to spend time and energy to generate ideas and then feel they went nowhere. In a session, if you generate ideas for an hour, also spend an hour on selecting, refining, and clarifying ideas at the back end. Do not leave the meeting with a huge list of potential ideas but leave the meeting with a short list of clear ideas, and a plan for action on each of them, that’s when you can decide that the session is a successful one.
If you want to run a great brainstorming session that works. Give your members plenty of warning as well as time. Make them work on their ideas before you gather them in that big conference room and bare whiteboard. In a brainstorming session, constructive criticism is present and should be given so that the group as a whole can generate and form the most creative solutions to the problems at hand. But limit the criticizing because it might lead to the point that your member no longer wants to work. But by following those few ideas above, you can foster creativity and grow small ideas into great ones and have brainstorming sessions that are true whirlwinds.