How often do you gather your team for a day of brainstorming? Jeff Hirsch calls these freewheeling powwows "ideation sessions," and they might just produce an idea that leads to your company's next great feature, product or service. "You're in the moment, sparks are flying, your brain's going a mile a minute," he notes at MarketingProfs. "The friendly competition from a diverse range of bright, talented colleagues stimulates original ideas that you never thought you could have."
If you want to get the most from an ideation session, Hirsch recommends rules like these:
- Jump right in. Lengthy preambles and presentations will kill the energetic buzz you've stoked with a buffet table of caffeine and carbs. "Say hello, state the target problem in one sentence, and then start with a crazy creative exercise," he says.
- Bring in a few ringers. Hirsch likes to recruit creative non-marketers—e.g. actors, musicians, writers and artists—who keep the conversation going during natural lulls. "They might not know 'the business,'" he allows, "but they do understand, intuitively, how to communicate and connect with people." The outside perspective can also challenge your company's usual way of thinking.
- Give concepts the benefit of the doubt. Some ideas might grow on you; some might lose their appeal in the light of day. "So if there's even just an inkling of something you like about an idea, keep it around for a while," he suggests.
The Po!nt: The best ideas happen when you create a conducive brainstorming environment and give them a chance to develop.
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