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Brainstorm Techniques to Elevate Team Creativity

“How should we fix this problem?” is a question that has been asked time and again in the boardroom, around the lunch table and likely on your last Zoom call at work. In this scenario, some may look to the most experienced person in the room or on the call to decide. Sometimes we invite the group to share feedback on what was done the last time. Instead of using one of these common solutions, try inviting one of these brainstorming techniques to your next meeting to elevate team creativity.

Start with a word game.

Free association is the process of relaying the first word that comes to mind based upon another word or image. During the process, don’t stick to a specific structure; rather let new words generate organically from the group at random. This exercise taps into your subconscious and opens the door to new ideas or considerations that brainstormers would have previously kept under wraps. Identify a member of the team to take notes, set a timer and go!

Reframe the question.

Another technique involves restating the original question in ten different ways to frame the problem in a new way. For example, you may start with the inquiry, “How can we increase our client service rates?” Your team can then rally to come up with related questions such as:

  • What does exceptional client service look like at our company?
  • What does exceptional client service mean to our clients?
  • How would we know we were delivering exceptional client service?

This simple reframing can help generate new ideas and may outline a better question for the group to answer.

Invite “outsiders” to the table.

What is mundane to you may be novel to someone else. That’s why it pays to invite a special guest to your next brainstorm session. Invite colleagues who work in different functions; they can add new information to the story or look at the problem from a different point of view. Invite individuals from other companies altogether; you can ask them to participate in your brainstorm or invite them to present on a topic prior to your team attacking a problem. A new perspective goes a long way in opening creative pathways. And if you can’t find someone available for that meeting, bring an inspirational Ted Talk to kick off the session.

In summary, doing the same thing and expecting different results will unlikely lead to amazing results. Instead, try a new tactic. Even something as basic as hosting the meeting in a new location or asking attendees to step outside can get creative juices flowing.