12 top tips on how to run a Brainstorm

When i started in advertising we rarely had brainstorms- a brief was written and handed over to a creative team to come up with “the idea”. Now agencies have them on an almost daily basis. The reasons?

-Social: a larger team needs to be enlisted to execute a campaign and you need to get more people committed to an idea to execute it well

– the nature of ideas: no longer a finely honed message these days but often the starting point for conversation and interaction. And a belief that ” the idea can come from anywhere”

Quite a lot of people harbour a secret dread of  “The Brainstorm”- and many of them are badly run which wastes a lot of peoples’ time. How to use them better? My 12 top tips are

-Don’t have too many Brainstorms and invest those that you do with greater significance

-Define a clear problem to be solved. Use an active verb to define it as in

“Win new customers”,”Change the image of the brand”,”Deliver better service”

-If the problem is not clear have a separate  session to sort it out-otherwise the first part of the brainstorm will be lost in debate

-Separate the “problem owner” and the brainstorm facilitator- don’t try to be both

– Don’t try a Brainstorm in under 90 mins

– Have a warm up at the start just as you would before playing sport ( most people have left brained jobs and you need to get the whole of your brain moving) eg; Draw your own logo/tell us something exciting that happened to you recently etc

( I have lots of these just ask)

– it is a good idea to get attendees to do some prep to get in the mood but keep it simple and give only one task or it wont get done

-Get a diverse group of people together

-Make sure that people are prepared to play the game and that hierarchy will not be a problem ( I once had disaster in Italy because ” the boss’ showed up so everyone sat and listened to him)

– Run the Brainstorm in a light and airy room

-Have regular breaks every 90  minutes at least

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