I’ve just come from off-site meeting with our client. We’ve been in beautiful place far away from both our and their offices with old, well-known “no access to e-mail and limited access to phone” message set in our brains. One of points on agenda was a brainstorming session. Its outcome was impressive and that’s not only my opinion.
We go through this kind of meetings with that very client on a regular basis and usually we don’t spring a surprise on us then. We know most of the rules of successful brainstorming meetings (link borrowed from Craig Brown), but when you mill the same knowledge of the same people yet another time, chances aren’t high that you’ll find a gem. This time it was different. Why? There were several crucial elements.
1. Get out of the office. Move from the conference room, notebooks, everyday small distracting issues. Let yourself forget about next meeting in ultimately filled conference room schedule. You need another quarter? You have it. You need to go out to catch some fresh air? No stress. Atmosphere becomes more informal and more creative too.
2. Do it differently. Forget flipchart. Take some photos from magazines, glue, a couple of markers and a pile of A1 sheets. Create a story. Don’t treat it deadly seriously. Play with ideas. Then present it to the rest of the people. You don’t have to hit the jackpot. You need to keep ideas flying all over the room.
3. Make a competition. Split people to several smaller teams. Give them time to prepare a couple of ideas, then make a series of presentations and let everyone to evaluate them. The best team wins. And everyone wins because you gain another stimulant to think creatively.
And after all it was a lot of fun. Of course that’s not the most important thing here, but from business perspective it was a meeting on steroids. I’m looking forward to implementation of some of today’s ideas. I believe one of them is a real gem.