The longer you brainstorm ideas, the more entrenched and defensive people can become with them. By cutting your brainstorm session time in half, you can get the good ideas out faster and save your team from wasted time.
Some ideas are like a stew, taking a long time for concepts to blend together the perfect way. Others are more like a cup of ramen noodles, cooking up instantly and only getting colder over time. The problem with long brainstorming sessions is that ideas get recycled with minor tweaks because once everyone has heard a good idea, they anchor themselves to it. On top of that, people grow attached to their ideas, causing them to become defensive and destroying true collaboration. Mark Miller at Inc. suggests creating some pressure for finding the good ideas faster:
Cut the actual sessions where a team comes together to innovate in half. However, provide a pre-work, individual assignment first that spurs the thinking.
If your brainstorming meetings usually take an hour, set a timer for 30 minutes. Now there’s time to get the innovative ideas out and avoid the time-wasting arguments or endless reiterations. For the individual assignment that Miller recommends, a pre-brainstorming exercise like “brainwriting” can get the ideas flowing.
Photo by Reilly Butler.