The 5 F’s of Brainstorming can help you and your team flip the switch to high performance idea generating.

Contrary to popular belief, traditional brainstorming isn’t dead. It just needs a bit of a redesign. Experience has shown us that the best brainstorming sessions are ones that are well-structured and facilitated in ways that make the most out of people’s time.

Here are proven ways to make any team brainstorming more productive:

  1. FOCUS—Make sure everyone in the room knows why they’re there. If you’re brainstorming creative ideas for this year’s trade show, write “Creative ideas for this year’s trade show” on a piece of paper in the front of the room.
  2. FLOW—Be dynamic not static in approach. Incorporate some creative exercises that will keep the energy going and enthusiasm up. Lots of great books with exercises you can use.
  3. FRESHNESS—Surprise brainstormers with activities and keep them off-balance by changing the environment. Don’t ideate in the same conference room you always meet in. Invite an expert into the room to shake things up and fuel original thinking. (For Gatorade, we invited a champion power lifter to talk to us about the principles of muscle recovery.)
  4. FLUENCY—Set a quota for the number of ideas you wish to generate. Push it. Tell your group, “We want to come up with at least 100 new ideas in the next hour.” Remember, quantity of ideas doesn’t replace quality – it creates
  5. FLEXIBILITY—Lots of ideas is good. Lots of DIFFERENT ideas is better. Challenge people to stretch beyond the obvious or expected. 10 different types of vanilla doesn’t help anyone. Try some new flavors. Be bold. The wilder the ideas, the better.

Go ahead. Try out the 5 F’s in your next team brainstorm and tell us how you did.

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