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Helping your team to brainstorm effectively

You are a business owner.

You know that it's a good idea to involve your team in brainstorming to improve your business performance. You want to encourage a collaborative approach with the team.

However, you are concerned about how it will work in practice. What happens if that team brainstorming produces some '#*%@ing foolish' ideas? This may be particularly important if you are planning a strategic brainstorming with the whole team (from top to bottom).

Basically you need an effective brainstorming structure to prevent that from happening! How does that work?

Essentially - you can't stop your team from coming up with strange/unworkable/undesirable ideas - but you can stop them before those ideas gather any momentum. It all comes down to the scoring process that you use to prioritize their ideas.

Having collected the ideas (good, bad and indifferent) you then want the team to evaluate them. Use a scoring matrix like the one below.

Score the ideas against 2 criteria on the x (vertical) and y (horizontal) axis. You can decide the criteria - but in the above example we have used:

-  'Value' (increase profits, strategic value, enhance competitive advantage, grow the business etc)

- 'Effort' (time involved, cost, hassle, skills required, use of resources etc).

You can change the above axis elements to suit your particular circumstances. But whatever you choose as the criteria, you simply ask the team to score each idea from 2 viewpoints:

- does this idea bring 'Value'? - score from 1 (low value) to 10 (high value)

- does this idea involve too much 'Effort'? - score from 1 (low effort) to 10 (high effort)

You are ideally looking for great ideas with high 'Value' to the business and relatively low 'Effort'. 

However, it also means that the inevitable 'strange' ideas from someone in the team (there is always at least one!) are quickly discarded (by the overall team themselves) with little fuss or embarrassment.

If you think about the structure of your brainstorming - you can encourage effective team collaboration - but remain confident that the inevitable  '#*%@ing foolish' ideas gain no traction and are quickly shelved. 

Ready to get going on your journey? Start Here