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The Creative Process: Navigating Brainstorms for Clear Skies

Just like April showers bring May flowers, the creative brainstorming process can lead to blooming results. While the promise of success tomorrow can be the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes the creative ideation process can feel like a chasing a storm for the next great advertising campaign, especially when the brainstorming process to get there lacks a proper, guided structure. Whether you’re getting ready to launch a new product line, want to build your business’ equity with a more recognizable brand, or are looking to improve your bottom line with a new widespread campaign, keep reading for our 6-step process for productive brainstorming sessions that yield results.

1. Follow the leader.

Although brainstorming sessions are open opportunities for ideas to flow without much censorship, every ship needs a captain to steer things in the right direction. Before kicking off any brainstorming session, it’s important to assign a moderator to lead the discussion and keep your group on track.

2. Set your course.

Defining a clear, specific end-goal prior to your brainstorming meeting will ensure your group’s process is streamlined and focused on the task at hand. Essentially, once you’ve figured out where you’re going, your brainstorming session can help you hatch a plan to get there.

3. Assemble your crew.

While there’s not a perfect, set-in-stone formula for setting up your brainstorming team, there are a few guidelines to follow for a successful session. Your team should be small, ideally no more than seven people, and made up of two to three people who are familiar with the project, as well as two to three members who are not privy to project info in order to gather a fresh perspective. This will keep your team nimble, focused and ready to weather the brainstorm.

4. Do the prep work.

While successful brainstorming sessions are largely organic and without a rigid structure, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare. This means carefully selecting a location where you and your team won’t be interrupted for the duration of your meeting, prepping all the materials and tools you’ll need for your presentation, idea starters and inspiration such as magazines, moodboards, etc., and maybe even grab some toys or trinkets to keep the hands busy and the creative juices flowing.

5. Hit the ground running (and don’t stop).

The first rule of brainstorming: there are no bad ideas. With this in mind, you can dive into your ideation process headfirst, encouraging wild concepts and off-the-wall contributions. We’ve found building on ideas that might have been considered too “out there” outside of a brainstorm session produces some of the best and most profitable results.

6. Where do you go from here?

Designate the last 10 to 15 minutes of your session to wrap up what you’ve accomplished during the meeting and assign your next-step tasks. This is the time to get specific—be sure everyone involved in the brainstorming session knows exactly what they are tasked with doing and when it is needed by so your hard work during the session does not fall by the wayside.

Do you have a lofty objective to meet and no set plan on how to accomplish it? Getting a brainstorming session with the right players in the books for your company might be the answer you need.

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