Creating fresh or new ideas can be a challenge, especially when you have a 1000 other things to think about and work upon each day. However creativity is the life blood of most businesses and helps businesses to keep ahead of the game. Taking time out and brainstorming is the way to go – but these sessions have to be done correctly to help ideas flow and make these sessions feel worthwhile.

To aid the creative process you need to have the right venue and atmosphere and for all participants to engage with the process and feel free to contribute and break out of the traditional mindset. There’s little point in trying to generate your creative juices in a stifling, dingy uninspiring event space, but then we can help you with that part with our free venue finding service.

Here are a few ways to liven up a brainstorming sessions to help improve the creative output:

1. Throw out bad ideas first

For a brainstorm session to work you need everyone to contribute. To help encourage this and to help warm up the process it’s a good idea to have everyone throw out all their bad ideas first. Staff can be apprehensive if managers are present, which can stifle the purpose of the session. By purposefully coming up with bad ideas it can break the ice, lighten the mood and engage people with the activity. It may even put a smile on your teams faces.

Once time has been spent on throwaway ideas and having a few laughs, you can refocus the session on brainstorming ideas that could work. And you never know – One of the ‘bad’ ideas could actually spark some fresh thinking and set a direction for the rest of the session.

2. Break down and build ideas

A way to turn a few ideas into many is by breaking them apart or building on them. General themes can be broken down into more specific parts, from which other ideas can stem. Similarly, you can build up the general ideas and have it cover a wider perspective. An example of this is to have each person write down two or three ideas on a piece of paper, then have them swap with other people and build on the initial ideas. The ideas can be swapped several times and discussions made with any ideas that emerge.

3. Word games

Playing word games can help to open the mind and inspire some out-of-the-norm thinking. One such exercise is to create a ‘word storm’. A word storm is where you write down one word and then brainstorm a raft of words that come to mind from that word. Think about the function of the word, how it’s used, associated metaphors, its aesthetics, etc. Let the ideas flow and don’t over think things — this is a creative exercise to help open up the mind.

Once you’ve listed out a number of words, group them together by their relationship with each other. The idea is to come up with less obvious words and phrases that your customers might associate with the project you are working on. Mind mapping is another useful brainstorming tool that can help you visualise your ideas. A mind map develops around an initial word or phrase with associated ideas branching from it.

4. Create a mood board

Creating story boards, similar to those found on Pinterest, that combine colour, images, words and emotions can help to create a mood or feeling and spark ideas. Such boards help to significantly improve information recall in comparison to more convention learning methods. Mood boards are a big part of our project management process over here at Pretty Clever.

Mood boards can be physical boards – using paper and glue, or virtual boards that can be created online. They are especially useful when creating new branding and creative design concepts.

5. Doodling

Many people doodle when on the phone, their subconscious minds working and assisting the conversation. Doodling helps to increase attention span, spur creative insight and free up short-term and long-term memory. It is almost a jump back to our adolescent minds and can free us to think about familiar things in different ways – which can lead to exciting and unexpected connections.

You can start to draw a specific thing and see where your mind and hand wanders, you can start a doodle and pass it on to a colleague to continue, or you can just have a pad available throughout the brainstorming session and see what appears!

6. Change your physical environment

To aid fresh thinking it is important to get away from your usual view and surroundings and go to a new place. This helps you to break down ‘the norm’ and inject a fresh vision on your perspective. Ideally it will be a location with good views and an environment that can provoke new thoughts. Holding brainstorming sessions outdoors can also be inspiring and productive.

A change of location can affect the way your brain works. Neurobiologists believe enriched environments speed up the rate at which the human brain creates new neurons and neural connections – so that your new location can and will affect the ideas your team comes up with.

If you have a project that needs some creative input and would like to arrange a free brainstorming session please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Your next genius marketing idea could be just one meeting away! 0845 413 30 30