Four Tips for Improved Brainstorming


In the “In Pursuit of the Perfect Brainstorm,” New York Times business reporter David Segal profiles Jump Associates, a hybrid strategy firm that helps organizations be more creative and innovative.

In the profile, Segal identifies some tips for the rest of us to consider, including:

  • Don’t play “idea tennis,” where “brainstorming can devolve into a kind of competitive idea tennis”: You think of a new use for pencil. Then me. Then you. Then me. Somehow, the unstated goal is winning” instead of developing new concepts or approaches.
  • To make brainstorms collaborative, consider a variation on an improv technique for story telling: one person offers the first sentence of a story, with everyone around the room adding a sentence. The “Yes, and?” nature makes it very collaborative.
  • Take a terrible idea — the article cites taking an idea that would make air travel unbearable — and turn it into something that you actually like.
  • Develop a three-box framework, developed by Dartmouth professor Vijay Govindarajan:
    • Box 1 is labeled: “everything a company now does to manage and improve performance”
    • Box 2 is labeled: “selectively forgetting the past,” which Govindaraja’is way of urging clients to avoid fighting competitors and following trends that are no longer relevant.
    • Box 3 is labeled: “strategic thinking about the future.” That’s because most companies focus on Box 1 only, Govindaraja says.

Worth trying out at your next brainstorm. Check out the entire article here.

Tagged: , ,

Related Posts