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:
- Hijacked by the loudest person in the room
- Be occupied mainly by extroverts
- 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”
- 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.
- 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.
- Write that question on a visible place, in order everyone to be able to see it.
- Set the rules:
- How much time the team members have
- No one is allowed to talk with each other
- Everyone should write as many ideas as possible until the end of the time
- Nothing if off the limit.
- One idea one sticky note
- After the process is over ask the team member to stick those ideas on a visible place/ flip chart, a wall … etc/
- Group all ideas into clusters/most probably some ideas would repeat or would be similar/
- 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! :)
Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager