How to Brainstorm Remotely
As many of you know, I’ve been facilitating creative sessions for quite a while. For those that don’t know, I have over 20 years of experience across many industries working with companies such as Google, Samsung, ConAgra, MetLife, Chase Manhattan, TIAA, The Home Depot, and many more. Our work has helped generate over $3 billion in incremental business.
Here are some steps on how to brainstorm remotely:
Start the meeting with a group review of whatever topic you are going to brainstorm on. It’s important for everyone to have a common understanding of the lay of the land – the product, the audience, the problem you are solving, whatever it may be.
Create a series of questions to be answered in smaller groups. The most efficient size group for creating ideas is 1-3 people. I recommend creating separate zoom “rooms” for everyone to break out together.
Each group should have a specific focus. Maybe it’s the audience, maybe it’s the problem you’re solving or the product area you want to explore. Come up with 3-4 ideas. That way you can have 3-4 small groups, more if you like. You can always have more than one group focus on the focus area.
Reward each group with the NUMBER of ideas they come up with and time the results (1-3 minutes). Encourage everyone to say “yes and” to ideas. You never know which supposedly “bad idea” will lead to a good one. NO evaluating of ideas while you generate them. Give prizes (I’m serious – candy, toys, something fun and send it to the team members after the meeting. Make sure everyone gets something – even a wind-up toy. It will bring a smile to their face AND it will remind them of the meeting!)
Examples of questions for ideation. After each breakout group, have the small groups share some of their ideas and have one person capture them all to send to the team later in the meeting.
- Best and worst
- What are the BEST ideas off the top of your head now?
- What are the WORST ideas to totally RUIN your effort now?
- Now, what are the opposite of the worst ideas?
- Day in the life
- What’s a day in the life of your audience? What’s a good day? A bad day?
- How could your product or service make a good day better?
- How could your product or service make the bad day worse?
- Projection ideas
- If your product or service were a superhero, what would his/her name be? What would their superpower be?
- Imagine you are in Mrs. Johnson’s 4th-grade class. You go visit your company, product, or service on a field trip. How do you make fun of the company n the bus ride home? Now, what ideas would your 4th’ grade self have for your product or service?
- Think of an innovator (musician, technology, writer, artist, any kind of inventor). If that innovator were your chief marketing officer, what would THAT person do for your product or service?
- After these ideas, ask “what part of these ideas could you actually use?”
Get consensus. Once you’ve got all the ideas done, email everyone in the group the list of ideas. You might also do this on a quick online survey. People will pick their top 3-5 ideas. Guess what? INSTANT consensus!
Next steps: if you have time, brainstorm on the ultimate outcome, the ideal future, Then talk about how that could fail, What are the obstacles? How can we overcome these obstacles? What are the first, easiest steps to take toward success?
Lori Hamilton, Founder
Prosperity Productions, Inc.