Brainstorming – practical guidance from infuture.fashion

Do you know those brainstorming conversations where everyone is talking, the frustration is growing, participants are cutting each other off? And after 2 hours you seem to finish with nothing or only with the irritated team?

Brainstorming ideas aloud with the team is NEVER conducive to getting GOOD STRONG results.

Brainstorming together aloud is actually the WORST way to come up with ideas!

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt on infuture.fashion journey it’s that discussions NEED structure in order to deliver optimal value.

So rather than walking in with an idea and a team of people ready to discuss.

Prepare to get the MOST out of everyone’s time.

Ok, I know – there are literally millions of brainstorming styles out there you can choose from, but most of them are completely broken (and ineffective). They end up being big, messy discussions where the loudest person wins… Did you experience that before?

Why so many methods are ineffective? I think it is because many brainstorming techniques don’t take human-nature, implied hierarchies or even varied personalities into consideration.

Today, I want to introduce you to Ultimate10 – easy and effective brainstorming technique.

In short:
Brainstorming outcome: A curated list of solutions and ideas for a challenge
Time: 10 minutes
Materials needed: A block of Square Sticky notes per person + A sharpie per person + a Time Timer or similar visual timer + Voting Dots (any colour)
Minimum participants: 2
Maximum participants: 10 (per table)
Plus, the person running the workshop – you!

You can use this Ultimate10 method to brainstorm almost anything, there are very few limitations.

-Generating ideas for new features for a product
-Generating ideas for new Facebook ad
-Generating headline ideas for a new landing page
-Generating ideas to improve your innovative culture
Possibilities are endless…

But insted of starting a session with something negative like: “We need to think of ways to fix our innovation culture” you rephrase it into something that offers more opportunity, like: “How Might We Improve the innovation culture.”

We need new ideas for the product launch – how to host the best product launch ever?

The conversion rate in our boutique is terrible – how might we improve the conversion rate?

I think you get the point.

Ultimate10 brainstorming method – Steps

Step 1: Generate (5 minutes)

Everyone is working toward the same goal – everyone is working toward it by themselves. Without discussion, without sharing, completely anonymously.

To avoid the silence feeling awkward and weird during exercises, you can put on some non-distracting tunes 😉

Participants must write 15-20 ideas without worries about quality.

BONUS Tip: When you see any members getting stuck (look for people stopping writing and looking around – they’re thinking too much!) encourage them to keep on writing, even if their ideas feel weird.

Step 2: Curate (1 minute)

Ask each member to choose their favourite 10 ideas from their stack of ideas. And throw away the other 10.

Stick chosen ideas up on a wall/whiteboard. Everyone sticks their sticky notes to the same surface at random. The participants should NOT group or arrange the sticky notes. Mix them up!

Step 3: Vote! (3 minutes)

Let’s try to figure out which ideas the team thinks are the most promising.

IMPORTANT: remove any duplicated ideas from the surface.

Give each team member a strip of 10 voting dots.

Voting rules: Participants can put as many dots as they like on one idea. They CAN vote on their own ideas. But they cannot ask for a further explanation of an idea. If something doesn’t make sense – skip it!

Participants must also use all of their 10 dots in the 3 minutes, so tell them to go with their gut feeling rather than analysing every idea.

Step 4: Arrange (1 minute)

The final part of Ultimate10 is simply about visualising the results of the voting. The ideas with a higher number of dots on top and smallest numbers on the bottom. Choose 10 ideas with the biggest number of votes and work on them further.

Do you think this method will work for you? What are your experiences with brainstorming meetings?

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