You have lots of exciting and tantalizing ideas…but just how do you organize those ideas into something that you can use?
Today’s post provides you with a way to organize ideas generated during a brainstorm…and help you declare an idea winner.
Take a break.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but you really should take a mini-break after a brainstorming session.
You want to create some distance between yourself and any ideas you’ve come up with.
This break will act as a buffer and allow you to better approach ideas objectively (instead of subjectively).
Take an hour or two to regroup, but no more than one day.
You want to have the brainstorm relatively fresh in your mind.
Chances are your brainstorming session generated a lot of ideas, some of which might be complex or complicate, and perhaps some asides, miscellaneous notes and maybe even a doodle or two.
That’s a lot of disparate information to deal with!
Instead of tacking all of this information, take the time to streamline your notes and convert your ideas into bite-sized chunks of information onto individual sticky notes or index cards.
A couple of words or a small phrase will suffice.
Do a quick sort.
Take a quick look at your ideas.
Are there any that immediate grab your attention? Are there ideas that make you pause, reflect and reconsider? Ideas should naturally fall into one of these three categories: love, like and so-so ideas.
Quickly sort your ideas into one of these three categories.
Resist the temptation on going off on a tangent of envisioning all that you could possibly do with a single idea.
Remember, you’re just doing a quick sort, not a detailed plan of action.
Evaluate ideas based on your brainstorm criteria.
You originally held your brainstorm in order to solve an answer to a problem or concern such as, “We need to come up with theme ideas for the spring carnival,” or “Ideas for my mother’s birthday present.”
You probably also had certain criteria in mind that would ultimately determine your final decision.
In the case of the spring carnival, you might have had the following criteria in mind: feasibility, cost effectiveness, physically possible, timely/time sensitive, research required.
Now’s the time to apply your brainstorm criteria and evaluate each of your ideas in the three categories.
You can create a little checklist or grid with your ideas and evaluate whether or not they match these criteria.
Take a final review.
By now, you’ve properly streamlined, sorted and evaluated your ideas.
You’ve got an idea that is “the winner,” but don’t throw away any of your other ideas just yet!
Take a moment to review your ideas overall to solidify your decision and see if you can’t synthesize something larger.
Are there any patterns that emerge? What separated the ideas that you loved versus the ones that were just so-so?
What concerns did you have about the so-so ideas? Can you merge two or more ideas into one for something bigger and better?
Now to you…what do you find is the most difficult part in organizing ideas after a brainstorm? Leave a comment below!