Brainstorming is a broad and diverse discipline where individuals come together to discuss ways that a business can grow, improve, innovate, problem-solve and make better decisions.
Brainstorming tends to be less common in companies with a hierarchical structure where top-down decisions are the norm. In more collaborative companies where employees have more autonomy, however, various brainstorming methods are utilized to deliver better outcomes.
In this article, we’ll discuss one hypothetical and one real-world example of brainstorming at work.
- The marketing team for a meditation app
- The session then progresses as follows:
- National Gallery of Art
- Key takeaways:
- Connected Brainstorming Frameworks
The marketing team for a meditation app
In the first example, consider a hypothetical remote marketing team that wants to find ways to encourage consumers to purchase the paid version of a meditation app.
The session facilitator starts by selecting an online remote brainstorming tool such as Miro, which allows the team to generate ideas in real-time using diagrams and sticky notes. Before the meeting, the facilitator also asks each team member to review the problem in their own time so that they come prepared.
The initial brainstorming session contains six people including the leader: a product marketing manager, a product manager, a UX designer, a content producer, and a demand generation manager. This assortment of roles is an ideal cross-functional mix and ensures that ideas come from a range of backgrounds and expertise.
The session then progresses as follows:
- Present the problem – in other words, how can the business encourage consumers to use the paid version of the meditation app?
- Five-minute review – then, the facilitator allows the team to record their thoughts on the problem for 5 minutes.
- Word association game – a further 10 minutes is spent on a word association game to help the creative juices start to flow. Words can either be spoken or written down and in this scenario may include “streamlined”, “ad-free”, “relaxation”, “undistracted”, “functionality”, and “rewards”.
- Vote on ideas – after the time has elapsed, the facilitator asks the five participants to vote on their favorite words.
- Brainstorm – for 20 additional minutes, the most popular words from step four form the basis of creative solutions to the problem from step one. No idea must be considered impractical or unrealistic.
- List creative ideas – using mind maps, sketches, sticky notes, or a combination thereof, the team generates a list of potential solutions. For the sake of brevity, some of the ideas may include offering freemium features for a limited time, utilizing referral or reward programs, and charging consumers to remove the intrusive advertising from the free version.
- Conclude – in the final step, the facilitator ends the brainstorming session and schedules a meeting where the team will vote on the idea(s) with the most potential.
National Gallery of Art
Museum staff at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., wanted to formulate strategies that delivered a better experience for visitors. Staff realized that many visitors did not feel comfortable or confident interacting with the art on display because, in their own words, they “were not art people.”
To solve this problem, the museum held a brainstorming session where participants drew possible solutions on a piece of paper for 8 minutes. After the time had elapsed, each presented their solutions to the group. Another session of equal duration followed as solutions were further refined based on input from other participants.
One solution that had merit involved requiring users to attend a lecture on the museum and its collection beforehand. However, the team wondered if the idea was too prescriptive. In other words, what would happen if a visitor did not want to attend the lecture? It was also noted that this idea would be expensive to maintain since staff would need to be employed to deliver the lectures each day.
From this failed attempt came another solution to show shorter, on-demand videos that museum visitors did not have to watch if they weren’t interested. The videos, which would be shown in the museum’s atrium, would allow visitors to develop the skills to interact confidently with art. After the team agreed it was the correct solution, it was implemented in the gallery to great success.
- Brainstorming is a broad and diverse discipline where individuals come together to discuss ways that a business can grow, improve, innovate, problem-solve or make better decisions.
- In the first example, a marketing team wants to brainstorm ideas to encourage users to use a paid version of a meditation app. The team consisted of six people in six different roles to create an ideal cross-functional mix.
- In the second real-world example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., used brainstorming to solve the problem of museum visitors feeling out of their depth when viewing art. Short, on-demand videos that allowed visitors to increase their understanding proved to be the most viable solution.
Connected Brainstorming Frameworks
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