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How to hold a brainstorming and creative ideas business meeting

Brainstorming can prove to be an invaluable component to any business’ marketing and creative strategy.

Not only does it encourage a wealth of ideas but it also presents a fantastic opportunity for your team to come together, share their thoughts & feedback, and get involved with the wider company goals.

The concept behind brainstorming came from renowned advertising executive, Alex Osborn, in 1939. Osborn had grown frustrated at his team’s lack of creativity when working individually, so began hosting meetings in which the entire team would collaborate and generate ideas as group. He found this yielded significantly more high-quality ideas.

Brainstorming has been the subject of much debate throughout the years, over how effective it truly is. However, many misinterpret its purpose; the end goal is not to decide upon a final concept, but to get your team thinking creatively and generate a variety of ideas that can be taken forward accordingly.

With many people all in one room and wanting to get their ideas across, there is a risk that brainstorming can very quickly descend into chaos. So, how can you go about running an effective brainstorming session? We’ve provided our top tips below to ensure your brainstorm meeting runs smoothly and produces the best possible results.

Give clear background on the project

One of the main principles that Osborn would insist upon, prior to any brainstorming session, was to clearly state the project or issue that will be covered. This not only reduces time spent explaining at the beginning of a session, but also provides ample time for participants to prepare and contribute some ideas to get the ball rolling.

Timing is everything

At one stage or another we have all had to endure one of those extremely long meetings that zap your energy and leave you feeling deflated. Brainstorming sessions should be kept short and sweet. You want your team to leave the meeting feeling inspired, motivated and, of course, creative.

Assign a Chair

Select one person who will ‘host’ the brainstorm. This person will provide a refresher of the project, outline how the meeting will work and what your expected outcomes are (e.g. how many ideas you are looking for at the conclusion of the session).

Add structure

Without an appropriate structure in place, your session could turn into a free-for-all, with participants speaking over one another or not having the opportunity to speak at all. Here at Moneypenny, we have found that sessions work well when we go around the table one-by-one; presenting an idea and discussing, before moving onto the next person. This ensures everybody’s ideas are heard and discussed.

Objective listening

Every idea should be noted during a brainstorming session, creating a respectful and impartial environment in which to make suggestions. Some of the best concepts come from a mixture of various ideas, so nobody’s thoughts should be judged or dismissed.

Take notes

During the session, allow participants to make note of their suggestions – ideally on one large sheet of paper between the group, so that you can visualise idea progression more easily. These notes can subsequently be turned into minutes that can be shared with participants.

Put your ideas into action

Once you have your long list of creative ideas, it’s time to put them into action. Filter down your ideas with a small group, and identify the most viable that can be taken forward and added to your overall strategy. Ultimately, creative brainstorming and meetings can encourage some fantastic suggestions while making everyone feel valued and involved. Effective meetings will go a long way in motivating and inspiring your team – leading to more impressive results for your business and its innovation.

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