How do you come up with the next BIG idea for your business? Or, for that matter, how do you come up with solutions to everyday business challenges? Do you and your employees work in isolation or do you work together? Many business executives have been advocates of brainstorming since the 1940’s when Alex Osborn’s books became popular.
Osborn spoke of four simple tenets:
- Don’t permit criticism.
- Say all ideas that come to mind.
- Aim for quantity.
- Build upon the ideas of others.
Business leaders got creative and developed many variations of the above. Not everyone feels brainstorming works, however. Some in business feel brainstorming is unproductive. Even those who believe in brainstorming acknowledge that when done poorly, it is in fact unproductive. So that begs the questions, how do we accomplish productive brainstorming?
Champions of brainstorming for business offer these tips:
- Structure the problem so that it is not too broad or vague. More ideas are generated when smaller problems are presented and dealt with one by one.
- Inform members of the brainstorming group of the problem that needs solving before hand. They will come to the session prepared and focused.
- Keep the groups small, but with diverse perspectives. People tend to share more in smaller groups.
- Set a time limit of 60 -75 minutes.
- Employ a skilled facilitator to guide the discussion.
Fresh ideas can make a business stand out from its competitors. Brainstorming can be a great way to develop fresh ideas so put some, or all, of the above tips into action and see what your team can come up with. When you do come up with the next BIG idea, turn to National Business Capital for the business financing to put it into action!