A meeting room. You already gather the team and you need to generate ideas. Your team is consistent of various professionals with different expertise and different communication style. Some of them introverts and some of them extroverts.

The problem: How to involve the entire team in generating new ideas to solve a problem

 

The discussions and the brainstorming could:

  1. Hijacked by the loudest person in the room
  2. Be occupied mainly by extroverts
  3. Be stopped because from brainstorming the session may turn in to judging ideas and label them as “stupid”, “already did that”, “impossible”, “I have never seen it working”
  4. Introverts or team members who are afraid to speak won’t contribute and sometimes they have great ideas and overview

 

“It’s very easy a brainstorming session to be interrupted by different interests and parties”

The solution: Introducing silent brainstorming technique

A silent brainstorming technique gives everyone a chance to contribute. It should be time-bound and the time should be challenging in order to pressure the team to focus on the task and not on looking what other people are doing. I would recommend using sticky notes for this process.

  1. At the beginning state the question. It’s better to make sure the team agree with the problem and how the question is stated otherwise some team members may not contribute fully if they feel their opinion wasn’t taken into account.
  2. Write that question on a visible place, in order everyone to be able to see it.
  3. Set the rules:
    1. How much time the team members have
    2. No one is allowed to talk with each other
    3. Everyone should write as many ideas as possible until the end of the time
    4. Nothing if off the limit.
    5. One idea one sticky note
  4. After the process is over ask the team member to stick those ideas on a visible place/ flip chart, a wall … etc/
  5. Group all ideas into clusters/most probably some ideas would repeat or would be similar/
  6. Decide on follow-up and next actions

 

And that’s one way how the entire team can contribute, generate new ideas and establish the feeling that each idea is important without specific people dominating the discussion.

Happy Brainstorming! :)

Yours,

Alex

 

Aleks Vladimriov is a Senior Software Developer, recognized Project Manager and Soft-skilled trainer and a coach.

Aleks Vladimirov

Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager

Aleks is experienced Product Manager with an engineer background and over 10 years of experience as a software developer. He works with different governments and is responsible for negotiation features and requirements, understanding the customers’ needs and supporting the senior management with regular reports and analysis. He held various positions starting as a software developer, moving to a team leader and software architect.

He strives in waterfall and agile environment alike. He is certified Scrum Master and Prince2 Practitioner and he knows how to design business processes and help teams optimize their work.
During his tenure, he had to wear many hats, prioritizing business requirements, delegating work and mentoring team members, creating mockups with Balsamiq, providing MS Project plan to the senior management.

He had worked in many international teams, located in the same city or distributed in different countries and continents. He had been a team leader of cross functional international team of 8 people.

In his current position, he is very much client focused. He has excellent presentation skills.
He delivers training sessions on presentation skills and leadership and he had helped hundred of people to improve their presentation skills.

He is also interested in creating more positive changes in the workplace by using entrepreneurship skills.
He had won startup competition where his team had validated and develop a business idea from scratch.

In his free time, he writes in his blog about effective product development.

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