It happens to all of us. We reach that dead end where we simply run out of fresh ideas and we helplessly fumble for solutions that have escaped us. What can we do to get the creative juices flowing again?
One of the best strategies to resolve this dilemma is to use a brainstorming session. The basic technique is easy as 1-2-3:
1. Think of many ideas in a short period of time.
2. Jot them all down.
3. Go back and evaluate each idea’s possibilities.
These brainstorming sessions can be invaluable when trying to come up with fresh, outside the box, ideas so we can work towards an effective solution to a difficult challenge.
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your brainstorming sessions:
1. Get outside input. Instead of going at it alone, get some help. Gather a few of the most creative people you know for a group brainstorming session. After all, two (or three or four) heads are better than one. These other participants may come up with some great ideas that may never have occurred to you otherwise.
- Let people have fun brainstorming. Relaxed people generally feel more creative, so encourage your group to pace, recline in their chairs, or turn it into a game – whatever they need to do to enable the flow of ideas.
2. Write down all of your ideas. Even if you come up with some wild ideas, write them down anyway. They may be more viable than you think! Some of the greatest breakthroughs in history came from ideas that were considered as pretty outlandish at first. Write it all down and revisit it later.
- This is a time for gathering ideas, not for shooting ideas down. Avoid discouraging participants in your group because they won’t participate as freely and they might keep the perfect solution to themselves.
3. Be creative and try something different. If you can’t see a solution right away, think of the problem from a fresh perspective. Look at it from a different viewpoint and maybe a new solution will present itself. Traditional solutions don’t have to be the only way to solve problems, and getting creative may get the ball rolling towards the ideal solution!
- Many successful entrepreneurs have a talent for observing people’s wants and needs. Then they find or invent a creative new solution. Watch the world around you and don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas or unusual solutions.
4. Try combining ideas. Whether you’re brainstorming on your own or as part of a group, you may need to mash different ideas together. Sometimes great ideas are born as twins – in the course of a brainstorming session you might come up with two halves of a perfect solution. Don’t be afraid to look at the results in an unconventional way.
- Some people have started their own businesses by combining their love of baking with their love of dogs to produce their own brand of doggie treats. It’s not a conventional pairing, but it’s one that works!
5. Ask questions. This works especially well in group brainstorming sessions. Encourage plenty of questions about everyone’s ideas. Questions can lead to a basic idea being fleshed out into a workable solution, and that, of course, is what a brainstorming session is all about!
- Ask questions, discuss, or even debate. Approaching solutions from different perspectives helps you see a larger and more accurate picture.
Acquiring problem solving skills makes our life so much easier! Use these techniques to brainstorm new ideas and solutions, and you’ll discover new fountains flowing with ideas you never knew existed! Problems can become opportunities in disguise. You just may find yourself going from zero to hero in one short brainstorming session. Try it – you’ll like it!