Brain Power

Nothing beats a good idea's potential return on investment. Make brainstorming sessions more productive with these steps to create the right environment, initiate the flow of ideas, and keep the session fun. 

Creating the right environment. Place stacking chairs outside the meeting place and ask participants to carry their chairs in themselves so the group determines the design space of the meeting. 

Promote a relaxed atmosphere by encouraging informal exchanges between participants. Try playing soft music or offering snack food. 

Keeping it fresh and fun. To let "raw" ideas "cook," build in relaxation periods when the brain can unconsciously transfer solutions, designs, or characteristics from unconnected objects to the problem or situation. 

Free up inhibitions by establishing a "play framework" that encourages imagination, flexibility, and risk taking. Try using jump ropes, crazy hats, and other toys in the meeting environment. 

Initiate the flow of ideas. Stay positive. Focus on what will make an idea work, not fail. Discuss problems without discussing solutions. Turn all questions into "how" questions. 

Be different. Sometimes the most ludicrous-sounding ideas end up having the most value. 

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