Have you heard the phrase that while brainstorming, there’s no such thing as a bad idea?
Of course there are bad ideas. Sometimes you won’t know that they are bad until they’re tried and they fail.
Yet often, bad ideas are really good ideas that simply are presented poorly:
- Shared too soon
- Shared too late
- Stated incoherently or incompletely
- Interrupt the flow generated by another idea
And while the idea of “Yes, and…” is vital for successful brainstorming, the process still has to be managed effectively.
If somebody’s contribution makes no sense at that moment, ask them to restate it. Or paraphrase it back to them and make sure you understand.
It’s okay to write things down and circle back later. Ideally, you have someone there whose role is to take notes so the flow of conversation isn’t interrupted.
If it’s just you? You do what you can. Have a notebook or recorder handy.
Remember why you’re doing this
Remember the needs of your team, your client, your boss, your stakeholders.
In the thrill of discovering new ideas, it’s easy to get carried away and forget what you’re really trying to achieve, what issues you’re really trying to make better. Take time to periodically realign with your North Star
Even if you’re doing this for yourself, it’s likely that there’s another overarching reason (a client, a boss, a future employer, a project, etc.). Related to the recalibration mentioned above, you must also keep in mind what the outcome will look like, how it will be implemented, and how much it will cost.
There is a time and place for all those and as Jim Morrison sang, “keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel”!
How’s it going so far?
What do you think?