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

Published by joinedupthink

Freelance Strategist in The Zoo at Google Founder of The Joined Up Company Former CEO of redcell advertising Executive Planning Director of McCann-Erickson Planning Director of Ogilvy

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