Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to brainstorm like a BAAAd ass

It’s a simple goal: Come up with the most amazingly fantastic, mind-blowing, yet inexpensive, and completely original idea possible. At Black Sheep we do it all the time, but even for us, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Drawing from our many experiences, we’ve gathered a few go-to tricks, and if you stick to the rules, they’re sure to result in something spectacular. Or at least make you laugh. Either way, it’s a good time.

Role play – It sounds naughty, but it’s only as dirty as you want it to be. Use your imagination, and approach the problem from a ridiculous, unexpected perspective. Pretend you’re in colonial times, or Egypt or that you’re a clown with superpowers from Iceland. Maybe you’re a golden retriever or a president or a teacher – from the Stone Age! When you put yourself in someone (or something) else’s shoes, you’ll start seeing the problem with a whole new point of view. It’s the less-than-obvious scenario that gets the attention every time.

Steal ideas – If you’re brainstorming in a group (and you should be), this is a little activity that allows you to steal your neighbor’s ideas. And make them better. It goes like this: Everyone in the group writes a simple idea or thought down on a piece of paper. Pass the paper to your left and the next person builds off of the first one. Repeat until everyone’s worked on everyone else’s original, and see what you come up with. You may not get a fully fledged solution, but you’ll definitely get the creative juices flowing.

Pull the trigger – This one’s another group activity. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible – there is no wrong, stupid or throw-away answer. Pick the best one and use those as “triggers” for more ideas. Continue until you’ve found the perfect answer. You will!

Be an astronaut  First, before getting together as a group, give everyone the chance to come up with a list of their own ideas.  Next, two people will sit together and discuss, covering everything on their lists. Then, add a new person to the group, discuss and repeat, until everyone has shared all their thoughts with the group individually. These steps make it difficult for a member to “hide” in the group or get squashed by bigger and louder members, and it’s a technique that has been proven by NASA! We trust those guys.

Follow the rules – 1. It’s a brainstorm, not a blamestorm. Don’t belittle other people’s ideas, kids. It’s just not nice, and it’s ultimately counter-productive. 2. Go for quantity over quality. The more ideas on the table, the better. 3. Drink while you think. You’ve heard of a drinking problem, well this is a drinking solution. Let loose, and throw a few back. It will make the creative process SO much easier. 4. Let the record show. WRITE everything down! Save your ideas for future brainstorms, and don’t risk forgetting the ones you have now. We’re talking to you, Paul Kinsey.

Sounds like fun, right? It is! Do you have your own brainstorming secrets? We want to hear them! We want to try them out! Share in the comments below, and let’s start a brainstorming brainstorm. 


Buzz Herd said...

I think this is great advice! And I agree that it is especially important to have tricks in place to allow everyone to build on everyone else's ideas so no one can hide or be silenced. Everyone's input is so important! The person who finds the rough gem is rarely the same person who polishes it.

One tip I would add is to make sure you know as much as possible about the client's goals and what the competition is doing going in to the brainstorm session. It can be easy to lose sight of the target during intense creative sessions, or to allow your ideas to remain inside "the norm", which will make them too "safe" to be truly effective.

rileybannister said...

Love the fresh spin you put on an old concept! I've been struggling lately to get my team fired up, but am now looking forward to trying out your ideas - thanks for the good advice. I'll let you know how it goes.

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