AUTHOR:
Kate T.

DATE:
February 19, 2015

CATEGORIES:
On the Job

READING TIME:
2 minutes

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Flex Your Mind: Brainstorming at Work

AUTHOR:
Kate T.

DATE:
February 19, 2015

CATEGORIES:
On the Job

READING TIME:
2 minutes

At Reynolds — and other companies — you’ll likely be asked to manage projects, be involved in new product launches, or join a team that's asked to tackle a tough problem. On these projects, you may work with a number of people, including those outside your department.

When those projects call for new or more efficient solutions to a problem, brainstorming is a proven tool to help you and your teammates generate new ideas and benefit from different perspectives.

Here are a few tips for a successful brainstorming session:

Set parameters first.

Limit the time of the brainstorming session and set the ground rules. A group discussion can easily get off track and cost a lot of people a lot of time. So, be disciplined.

Get different perspectives.

I mentioned this above, but you want to include a variety of different people in your brainstorming session. Invite people who are not involved in the project or are from different departments. They may be able to point out things you haven’t seen or identify gaps in information you may not have considered.

Set the scene.

If you’re the leader of the session, set clear expectations of what you want to achieve. Give the group just enough details to limit the discussion to relevant items.

Sharing the background on what you’re looking for in the project will help those involved see the room they have to work with. Will the video only be a minute or two long? That’s important. What is the major selling point of the new product? The name might want to reflect that. Giving a few guidelines to the group could help stimulate their creativity and help them use their imagination to work around those details.

Warm up your brain.

People may not be coming into a brainstorming session in the most creative, inspired mindset. Begin by giving their gray matter something to warm up with. Use word association games or mind teasers to get their thoughts flowing. If you can relate these games to what you’re brainstorming, that can only help!

Write first.

Bring paper, pens, and pencils. When you start getting people to brainstorm ideas, hand them out. Rather than having people volunteer their ideas, give everyone a few minutes to write down all the ideas they can come up with.

Once the writing time is up, go around the group and ask people to share their top two to three ideas. List them out, and then discuss further.

There are no bad ideas.

This is the golden rule of brainstorming. Having a successful brainstorming session means that every idea, no matter how crazy or “out there” it may seem, is useful. Off-the-wall ideas could serve as a perfect jumping off point for something even better, but if people don’t feel comfortable putting them forward, that leap may never occur. Set the standard from the start that every idea is welcome, and you just might be rewarded.

Use these brainstorming tips to make your group sessions more productive and satisfying. Experiment to find what works best to engage your co-workers in the discussion. Best of luck generating that next great idea!


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Kate T.

Kate is a graduate of Ohio University, where she studied Communication Studies. She now works as a Corporate Recruiter in Dayton, Ohio. She is an expert on corporate life, as she works with the Reynolds summer internship program and teaches business etiquette courses to college students. After work hours, Kate participates in the cornhole league, finds creative outlets for her DIY skills, and enjoys traveling to new places.