Both individual and group brainstorming have been hot topics. The Wall Street Journal reported that individual brainstorming allows people the chance to create ideas without fear of criticism. This was countered by a Bloomberg article advocating the idea that the group setting allowed for ideas to be built upon one another. The truth is actually somewhere in between. For those companies that are looking to be incubators of innovation, Metro Offices has compiled the top five tips to follow:
- Pick the Right Environment: The axiom is “location, location, location.” The same is true when it comes to brainstorming. If you hold it in a DC virtual office space that is comfortable and relaxing, you start off on the right foot—by taking away the potential stressors that often hold back creativity.
- Start with Individual Brainstorming: It’s true that certain people are less sociable than others. Thrusting them immediately into a very public brainstorming session might quickly stymie their creative thinking. That’s why it helps to begin with individual sessions—with all the encouragement that can be had—before transitioning into a larger group affair.
- Encourage Healthy Competition: Competition can be a very tricky thing in any environment, but the truth is that it will always be there. What should be encouraged is a “competition” to get everyone involved to feel like they are truly part of a team collaborating toward the same goals. What you avoid is an attitude that segregates “winners” and “losers.”
- Hold Off on the Criticisms: In line with number 3, it’s important to keep in mind that brainstorming is designed to generate ideas. Whether they’re right or not is something to be looked at later. You want to get as many people participating in order to have a pool of ideas to choose from. To that end, it’s very important that criticisms be avoided. Not only do they dampen the enthusiasm of the session, but they also cut down ideas that might be truly great with further refinement.
- Combine and Extend: While it’s true that you want to get as many ideas as you can out of a brainstorming session, to be truly effective and efficient, it can help that you also work—through a skilled facilitator—on combining the best related ideas and extending them. Not only does it help to formalize ideas, but it certainly allows for a sense of collaboration and unity among participants.
For over 25 years, Metro Offices has been the top local provider of office spaces. With us, you get a virtual office in DC with all the necessary fixtures of the modern office and a few great extras that we tailor to meet the specific needs of your company. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to work with you to find the balance that your company might need in an office space.