How to Organize a Brainstorm

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Image of a woman writing on a whiteboard

Are you thinking about holding a brainstorm to generate some new ideas for a project, product or service?

While a rapid exchange of creative ideas can be exhilarating, these meetings can quickly get out of hand if you’re not paying attention.

In this post I offer a few tips to help you organize a brainstorm and keep things in order.

Clearly identify the goal of your brainstorm before you begin.

It’s important to drill down and be very specific in describing the types of ideas are you are looking for as well as how these ideas fit into the overall context of your project, product or service. It can be very hard, if not impossible to generate ideas for which there is no relative framing or context.

What goal do you want to achieve in holding your brainstorm? Are you looking for new cake and frosting flavor ideas for your bakery that remind people of the springtime? Are you looking for a short and catchy slogan for a new brand of running sneakers? The more specific you can be in the descriptions of your goal, the better.

Have brainstorm materials prepared ahead of time.

Just like any other meeting, it’s important to have all of your related materials prepared and ready before your brainstorm. The last thing you want to is to run around looking for notepads, sticky notes and markers when the brainstorm is at it’s peak. Stopping to refill on office supplies not only slows down the idea collecting process, but is also a distraction to meeting participants. Prepare a list of materials and pack up these items the day before your brainstorm if possible so you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Identify a method or device to capture information or ideas.

There’s no sense in holding a brainstorm if you’re not going to capture any ideas! Determine how ideas are going to be captured well before your meeting. For example, you might assign one person to take notes during the meeting by hand, or on a tablet or laptop. Alternatively, or in addition to this, you might consider using one or two digital or video recorders. Be sure to test out the equipment thoroughly before the meeting starts. Need some help organizing all those great ideas post-meeting? Check out my post, Organizing Tip: How to Organize Ideas After a Brainstorm.

How about you? Which of the above tips will you use at your next brainstorm? Have you organized any brainstorms in the past and have some organization tips to share? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.