You should try this… quick first round ideas
Success comes down to making decisions and executing upon those decisions. It is said that speed defines success, that the fastest company in any market will win. But what if the ideas you’re charging forth with and more ‘been there, done that’ than innovative and game changing. As part of our “You Should Try This…” series, we thought we’d take a look at the importance of quick first round ideas.
At make it pop we’ve had plenty of ideas amongst all our experiences, some good, some not so good and some that should never have gone further than that drunken conversation in the pub (we’ve all had them!) So just how do you know which idea to pursue further with and how to make the most from quickly brainstorming ideas. Are you sitting comfortable? Then let’s begin!
Let’s be realistic, we all need help, we all need mental stimulation and we all need to listen to those around us. Brainstorming sessions come with their problems, from a lack of leadership to not challenging social conventions and ultimately ending up with too many ideas and no plan to execute them.
If we’re being honest with you guys, we have dreaded many meetings where we’re forced into quick first round ideas. We either have nothing to contribute or feel overshadowed my Steve, the office extrovert who thinks he’s Gods gift to the design world when in reality your 4-year-0ld nephew can do better. Yeah you know the one, every workplace has them!
So just what are the problems?
- Social loafing: the millennial phenomenon which is a risk to ask group situation. People don’t feel like they have to try as hard when they know there are plenty of other group members to pick up their slack.
- Social Anxiety: introverts feel too nervous to speak up with ideas that are brilliant and the extroverts take charge with more often than not below average solutions.
- Lack of Honesty: human want to be liked! We don’t want to hurt peoples feelings or rock the boat in the majority of situations. However, this is never going to solve the problem in question and lukewarm ideas will be carried forward leading to further problem
- Lack of Structure: nobody is leading the sessions and you’re all bumbling through with no clue of the final goal or what the session is focusing on.
- Too Many Ideas: after you’ve finished ideating, sometimes you end up with a bunch ideas but no clue what to make of them all.
- No Follow Through: so you’ve focused on several ideas but you have no end game, no plan of action and no deadlines set. What was the point of wasting those 45 minutes on a Monday morning then!
What can you do?
You may be thinking about how you’ve succumbed to all those problems and failed at your quick round ideas. But worry not, we’ve got you! They’re all easy problems to fix and the steps are simple to get your brainstorming meetings back on tasks.
- Let them think: give everyone in the session time to think, even if its just 5 or 10 minutes, then come together to share everyones thoughts. Typically introverts need time alone to get their creative juices flowing whereas extroverts are often more creative by feeding on the energy of a group. It’s important to know who you’re working with so you can adapt to group personalities.
- What’s the purpose?: there needs to be a specific question or problem to explore. It should be clear to the group what it is and everyone should be provided with as much supporting information as needed to have a successful brainstorming session.
- Set boundaries: who is leading the session? Should it be mandatory for everyone to contribute at least three ideas? Is interrupting someones idea ok? Is the idea session verbal or are you going to write down all the ideas somewhere? Does everyone know the purpose of the sessions and what the focus of ideas should be?
- Postpone criticism: a creativity killer that leads to a fear of ideas being shot down. Quick first round idea sessions aren’t for criticism but if that is the environment necessary to push a project and problem forward then implement this rule. If you are going to shoot down an idea, you need to come up with an alternative to adapt the idea successfully. Brainstorming should be about communicating, not competing
- Challenge the when: Some decisions are more complicated or critical than others and some can’t be easily reversed. Not everything needs to be done here and now, but remember that it’s always useful to challenge the due date! Just ask this simple question: “Why can’t it be done sooner?” Asking it methodically, reliably and habitually can have a profound impact on the speed of your organization.
- Reflect on the ideas: it’s all good and well coming up with a range of ideas but the session was pointless if you don’t look ahead. Are these ideas going to lead anywhere? Have you planned a review session to take things to the next step? Do you need another quick ideas session further into the project?
make it pop’s top tip!
Something we at make it pop find useful is to get your team to go through all the ideas you have thought of. You’ve read them all and discussed everything you possible can. Great, now divide them into four piles. The good ideas, ideas with potential, the ideas that need work and the ideas not worth pursuing that can be discard. This process should be quick, practical and objective. Now you have your piles of ideas, focus on the good and potential ideas pile for your next ideas session.
Give this a try!
Here’s a final handy tip for your next brainstorming session, not like we haven’t given you enough already!
Have you hard of Edward de Bono and his Six Thinking Hats? It may seem a simple idea but give it a try, you never know what might happen! Direct your team to put on each of the following hats to analyse the situation and generate new ideas. But what are the hats we hear you inquisitively asking, well:
- White hat: the fact finder. With this hat you will gather as much data as possible and present the facts known and needed. It’s all about the facts, the facts and nothing but the facts.
- Yellow hat: the one with the positive sunshine aura. They will explore the positives and probe for value and benefits.
- Black hat: the negative Nancy of the group. They spot the negatives, the difficulties and the dangers. Can be one of the most useful hats but a problem if overused!
- Red hat: the sensitive one. They use hunches and intuition, expressing emotions and feelings, likes and dislikes.
- Green hat: the creative one. They use creative approaches to consider new concepts, perceptions and alternatives.
- Blue hat: the manager. They facilitate the session, oversee the brainstorming process, and review the ideas generated.
You still want more!
And after all the wisdom we’ve imparted onto you! We don’t know how you could need more, but i you’re still struggling with quick first round ideas, then take a look here, here and here. Or check out all our other amazing blogs for inspiration and be sure to follow our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get your creative juices flowing.