Think back to the last brainstorm meeting you attended.
Perhaps you scheduled it to tap into the collective creativity of your team. With high hopes of coming away with a truly great idea. But what actually happened?
We’re guessing everyone came in with a burst of ideas before moving off track. Devolving into random word association, and amassing piles of sticky notes that went nowhere.
Here at Asana, we do a lot of brainstorming to come up with new topics to write about.
But we’re also averse to inefficient meetings and try to avoid scheduling them unless they’re absolutely necessary. Browse any team’s calendar, though, and brainstorm sessions are sure to make a few appearances.
The question is: why do bad brainstorms happen to good teams?
And what can teams do to prevent the bad ones—and run more effective brainstorms?
An idea is born
Brainstorming is the brainchild of advertising executive Alex F. Osborn, who developed techniques for “organized ideation” in 1938.
As co-founder and executive vice president of BBDO, a leading advertising agency, Osborn spent the next few years honing his methods to help his creative team “think up” more—and better—ideas for ad campaigns.
In Applied Imagination (1953), Osborn established four basic principles for running an effective brainstorm:
- More ideas are better.
- There are no bad ideas.
- The crazier ideas, the better.
- Combining ideas is a good thing.