Rules for Brainstorming

Our bootcamp class got an introduction to the’s rules for productive team brainstorms today. These are a time-tested, road-worn recipe for successfully generating ideas with your team.

1. Defer Judgment. Don’t block someone else’s idea if you don’t like it…put it on the whiteboard and maybe you’ll be able to build on it later.

2. Go for volume. Getting to 100 ideas is better than 10, no matter what you initially think about the “quality”. Try setting a goal for the number of ideas you’ll get to in a certain amount of time to provide some stoke.

3. One conversation at a time. When different conversations are going on within a team, no one can focus.

4. Be visual. Sketch your ideas out for your teammate. It will communicate them more clearly than words alone, plus you might inspire some crazy new ideas.

5. Headline your idea. Make it quick and sharp, then move on to the next one.

6. Build on the Ideas of others. This leverages the perspectives of diverse teams and can be especially useful when you feel like you’re stuck.

7. Stay on topic. Your idea for an edible cell phone is awesome, but not during a brainstorm on making opera more exciting for children.

8. Encourage wild ideas. The crazier the better…you never know where your team might be able to take it. (See #1 and #6).

Other tips: Warm up with a stoking activity…improv, games, dance, anything to get your team juices flowing. Have candy on hand for brain fuel. And have fun!

For a look at the rules in action, check out this video from graduate students John Shinozaki and Jaki Clark, biology PhD student Leticia Britos, lecturer Adam Royalty, and East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy teacher Melissa Pelochino. They also did this video on how *not* to brainstorm. (Thanks, Leticia!)

One Response

  1. Leticia
    Leticia October 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm |

    Check out this other brainstorming session:

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