Better Brainstorming

Whether you’re in the leadership of your organization or it’s your first day there as an intern, you have problem-solving ideas that are valuable, but maybe not completely formed into real solutions just yet. The beauty of a brainstorming session done right is that it doesn’t matter what your title is. The idea is just to get a lot of ideas on the board, and evaluate them afterwards. An article by Jeffrey Fermin, “How To Lead Better Brainstorming Sessions,” has some tips for generating more ideas. Perhaps some of these could be useful for you.

He writes (paraphrased)


There’s the standard “put ideas on a whiteboard and then sort through the ideas later” method, which is what most people think of when they think of brainstorming.

There’s very little structure to this method, and the idea is generally to come up with as many ideas as possible, then sort through them later.

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Another option is “brainswarming” which involves writing the problem at the top of the whiteboard and potential resources to create solutions with at the bottom for the whiteboard.

After doing that together as a group, your team splits up and works individually on solutions that involve the resources listed, then convene again to get feedback, discuss, and prioritize the potential solutions.

Aside from those two techniques, you can try something like having your team write down their ideas first, then bring the ideas to a structured meeting where the merits of each idea are discussed. 

Or you can try virtual brainstorming — using similar rules as “traditional” brainstorming, but conducting the idea generation session via a tool like Slack, which often performs better than in-person brainstorming. 

If you can’t guide the brainstorming session without inserting too many of your own opinions or your team members seem intimidated by your presence, you’re better off leaving the room and coming back later. You want your team to feel completely free to throw out ideas and solutions without worrying about impressing (or disappointing) their team lead. Once you have ideas from your brainstorming session, you need to evaluate them.


You can read the full article here. What works well in your brainstorming sessions? Do you have a go-to method for group brainstorming? What about for brainstorming alone? We'd love to know what pro tips you can share. Work Hive is a coworking community in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we're always looking to learn from each other.