Are you looking for something fresh to bring into your next meeting? Individual or group brainstorming can lead to new ideas for 2017, solutions to vexing business issues that plagued you last year, and can help to extend and develop existing ideas.
Here are some tips on how to create fresh thoughts in the new year:
For an individual
Brainstorming should be fun! Shoo away the critic in your head. Even if your thought is ‘off-the-wall’, acknowledge it.
1. Create a mind-map
Need a marketing slogan for a service? In the center of a piece of paper, jot down one ‘root’ word, short phrase, or image to sum up your service. Working quickly, jot down associations that come to mind around the root word, circling and linking each back to the root word with a line or arrow. Continue to explore and expand, jotting down new associations and linking them back to the words from which they sprang. The further you go from your root word, the deeper you will dig into your subconscious. Once you have exhausted all avenues, try out various combinations of the words or images that are most meaningful and play with various slogans.
2. Time travel
How would you deal with a difficult client if you lived in a different time period? Generate ideas as if the situation happened 10, 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years ago. Or ten, 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years in the future. While we do not suggest you take the “off with his head” medieval approach, playing with time may yield a unique approach to dealing with a client.
What would you do to get business in the door if you were another person? How would your parent, your partner, your child, your best friend, your enemy, or your competitor tackle the issue? Try putting yourself in the shoes of a few admired or despised historical figures or current icons, too.
For a group
In a group brainstorm session, the keys are to create a safe space, encourage participation by all, and to keep ideas visible.
1. Keep it non-competitive
Everyone should be encouraged to contribute and work to a common goal. Try not to rank ideas or reward specific people.
2. Do not criticize
When thinking of ideas, don’t evaluate any single idea during the session — keep it fast-paced and fun! People should try to build the next idea based on the previous one.
3. Choose a facilitator
Your facilitator will record ideas on large poster-sized paper fastened to a bulletin board or to the walls. The facilitator should not ramble on about his or her own ideas, but encourage everyone else’s participation.
4. Take action
Pursue one or two of the more promising ideas to see how they work. If it’s a product, build a prototype. A new way to handle financial transactions? Test it. Trial and error is a great way to evaluate an idea and improve on it.
For more information on how JWU Online can help you pursue your career goals, contact us at 855-JWU-1881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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