I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I come up with the greatest ideas…at the worst times. Yesterday, I was driving home and blasting music when the best blog post idea dropped into my head. Obviously, I couldn’t just reach over and write it down in a notebook because I was DRIVING. I get so mad at my brain sometimes. I couldn’t help it though, I knew I’d forget it by the time I got home, so I reached over and recorded the idea into my phone.
I asked myself later why I can’t seem to come up with great ideas when I’m actually brainstorming?? I researched it and came up with these 3 tips for making your brainstorming session as productive as when you’re sitting in your car blasting Paramore.
Grab an umbrella because it’s about to start raining ideas. <— (Yes, I know. Cheesiest joke ever.)
Give your brain some space
As I have found out (much to my frustration), clearing your mind and not thinking about what you should be thinking about will result in awesome ideas. That being said, if your brainstorming session isn’t going anywhere, do something else. Go for a run, grab some coffee, talk about something else with someone else, drive your car, take a quick shower (I get ideas there too), or get some other task accomplished. Sometimes your brain needs some space. It may seem unproductive but it’s way better than sitting around, and then settling on a half-way good idea that stemmed from your stress. Since it’s possible for your ideas to come randomly, go ahead and keep a notebook/phone/laptop around so that you at least have somewhere to to write it down/record it.
Engage in rapid-fire idea generation
This one is great for group brainstorming. Have everyone keep shooting out ideas. Before beginning, be sure to put everyone at ease by ensuring that no idea is a stupid one. Sometimes the most stupid ideas can generate the most creative plans. Another way to do this without being completely random is to play a word association game. It might lead you and your group in an unexpected but interesting direction. You never know what kind of million dollar ideas you could generate that way!
An important tip is to not allow one brainstorming session to be the only one. Have you ever had an idea that you thought was fantastic only to sleep on it a realize it’s not all you thought it was? Before making an official decision allow yourself and/or your team to marinate on those ideas for a few days. Then meet up again and see what new ideas or new additions to old ideas that you or your team have come up with. This results in a plan that is the best it could be and not just something that happened because someone said it and it got written down.