10 Brainstorming Tips for Solid Gold Ideas
1. There’s nothing like a blank page to inspire creativity
In social media, we spend a lot of time looking at screens, and we recognize that sometimes a screen can feel confining, rather than inspiring. Invest in some giant pads of paper, sticky notes, white boards, markers, highlighters, pens, crayons- keep them at your fingertips. Doodling, drawing, heck even scribbling, can free the mind.
2. But seriously, guys… Making jokes
Especially bad jokes. Trying to be funny will at least make you laugh at your poor attempts. You become a true master of a subject when you can joke about it. Maybe you won’t come up with Internet worthy humor, but laughter is a vital ingredient to any brainstorming session.
3. Be really really ridiculously good looking… or at least really really ridiculous
Come up with bogus product ideas, silly campaigns, or design a month long retreat trekking up a mountain to accomplish a menial task. 99% of what you come up with being ridiculous won’t be of any use. The point of being ridiculous is to remind yourself that there are no boundaries when you are brainstorming- it might just set you on the right path to an “Aha!” moment.
4. Find your zen (Shena likes to talk to the plants)
Center your chi, align your aura, and become one with the multiverse. Remember, there is no one in the world quite like you. Value your own creativity; refrain from being overly critical of any idea in the brainstorming session.
5. Get into character
Pretend to be someone else. Create a character for the brainstorming session- make them talk, walk, and think different than you would. Maybe he’s Victor, the consultant who wears thick-rimmed glasses and puff on cigars during his video chat from an “undisclosed location.” Then ask, “What would Victor do?” The answers you come up with may surprise you!
6. Have goals
While it’s important to avoid boxing yourself in, you need an idea of what you hope to accomplish. When a task is really big, try to boil it down to a simple statement. Even if that statement is something like “Make a kickass campaign” or “Throw a Gatsby-worthy party.”
7. Take breaks
When you run out of steam, take a productive break. Walk outside, split up, and work on other things. All of our best ideas come out when we are in the peak of a brainstorming session, and then they die off. Don’t keep pushing when you’re progress starts to slow. Switch gears then come back to keep the momentum going.
8. Research until your fingers bleed (from typing so many Bing/Google/Yahoo! searches)
What are other people saying about the topic? Don’t just read the positive articles that support your ideas- sometimes ugly, cynical, and negative opinions about the topic will inspire you to come up with a stand alone counter-point.
9. Work backwards
This is a great technique for goal setting. Pretend you’ve already accomplished what you are brainstorming about: What does that look like? What did you do to get there? How long did it take you? What resources did you utilize?
10. Keep an open mind
The brainstorm session is no place for naysayers- refine the best ideas later. The more comfortable everyone can be throwing out his or her unique idea, the more likely you are to strike creative gold.