The 7 rules to running a better brainstorming

Every company and every team wants to be more creative and have better ideas. But how do you get better? This episode shows you how to frame the opportunity given to you by your creative strategy using ‘how might we’ statements and the 7 rules to run a better brainstorming session.

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Show Notes:

Frame the opportunity

– You should have a brief and a strategy before you get to this stage.
– It’s about diverging and having a lot of ideas. People who like to have a good sense of what the answer will be may find divergence frustrating. It almost feels like you are going backward and getting further away from the answer, but this is the essence of creativity.
– Divergence needs to feel optimistic, exploratory and experimental, but it often feels foggy to people who are more used to operating on a plan.

How might we

– First we have to create some questions to brainstorm around. We call these ‘How Might We’ statements. They are open-ended questions that stimulate ideas.

7 Rules for a brainstorm

1. Defer judgment: There are no bad ideas at this point. There will be plenty of time to judge ideas later.

2. Encourage wild ideas: It’s the wild ideas that often create real innovation. It is always easy to bring ideas down to earth later!

3. Build on the ideas of others: Think in terms of ‘and’ instead of ‘but.’ If you dislike an idea, challenge yourself to build on it and make it better.

4. Stay on topic: You will get better output if everyone is disciplined.

5. One conversation at a time: Allow ideas to be heard and built upon.

6. Be visual: Try to engage the logical and the creative sides of the brain. A quick sketch can help make your idea more understandable to someone else.

7. Go for quantity: Set a big goal for the number of ideas and surpass it! Remember there is no need to make a lengthy case for your idea since no one is judging. Ideas should flow quickly.

Mentioned in this episode


How to craft ‘How might we’ statements

By defining themes and insights, you’ve identified problem areas that pose challenges to the people you’re designing for. Now, try reframing your insight statements as How Might We questions to turn those challenges into opportunities for design. We use the How Might We format because it suggests that a solution is possible and because they offer you the chance to answer them in a variety of ways. A properly framed How Might We doesn’t suggest a particular solution, but gives you the perfect frame for innovative thinking.


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