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Design Week Portland - The Art of the Brainstorm


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How do you solve the problem of brainstorms? While they can be enlightening and build momentum, they can also bog down a team and create friction.

In this talk we identify key weaknesses in brainstorming, and provide solutions and new techniques to help get the most out of your team.

Published in: Marketing
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Design Week Portland - The Art of the Brainstorm

  1. 1. eROI · PERFORMANCE IS ART · eROI.COM The Art of the Brainstorm April 19, 2016
  2. 2. Trevor Orton CONTENT LEAD @trevororton Phil Herbert STRATEGY LEAD @phil_herbert 2
  3. 3. 3 BRAINSTORMING: Method or Myth?
  4. 4. 4 Some BACKGROUND.
  5. 5. 5 Why have Brainstorms become so ineffective?
  6. 6. 6 Evaluation ANXIETY.
  7. 7. 7 People don’t share ideas due to fear of judgment from others.
  8. 8. 8 Social LOAFING.
  9. 9. 9 People have a tendency to hide from the spotlight.
  10. 10. 10 Production BLOCKING.
  11. 11. 11 Traditional brainstorming only allows one person at a time to be productive.
  12. 12. 12 Confusing Brainstorming with COLLABORATION.
  13. 13. 13 Collaboration isn’t always what it feels like.
  14. 14. 14 What does it take to have an effective brainstorm?
  15. 15. 15 Know when it’s appropriate, and WHEN IT’S NOT.
  16. 16. 16 There are lots of ways to generate creative ideas. Brainstorming is only one of them.
  17. 17. 17 Letting the team RIFF on topics and themes.
  18. 18. 18 Create a culture of “yes, and…”
  19. 19. 19 A diverse set of BACKGROUNDS AND SKILL SETS.
  20. 20. 20 Do you keep your ketchup in the fridge or the cupboard?
  21. 21. 21 There has to be TRUST within the team.
  22. 22. 22 A free flow of ideas without judgement is key to opening up creativity.
  23. 23. 23 There has to be PRIOR PREPARATION beforehand.
  24. 24. 24 Give people time to contemplate the question at hand before coming to the meeting.
  25. 25. 25 The Future of Brainstorms
  26. 26. 26 Brainswarming
  27. 27. 27 A collaborative style where multiple people use Post-Its or a whiteboard to map tools and solutions together.
  28. 28. 28 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Looks Like This Education Resource Millenials Personal Member Community Outreach Partner -ship Seminars Blogs Social Media Financial Ed. FAQ Branches IQ: PNW Brand Ads PPC Blogs Social Media PNW Photo Shoots Video Content Portland Residents Big Bank Members Millenials Personal Member Use Local Artists Define PNW Unique Other CU Members Branches
  29. 29. 29 “This seems suited to very specific or singular problems and projects”
  30. 30. 30 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Best Uses Brainswarming is best used for a singular problem or product, where the end goals and the tools are well-defined. Don’t Use Wide-ranging topics, or non- linear solutions to problems.
  31. 31. 31 Starbursting
  32. 32. 32 Asking questions to get deeper into the ideas.
  33. 33. 33 STARBURSTING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Looks Like This Who will manufacture them? Who are they for? Who will work on the project? What should they be called? What price should they be? What color/s should they be? How do they help you jump higher? How will we promote them? Where will we get them made? Where will they be stocked? Where should we shoot the ads? When do we finalize the design? When should we launch them? Why will people choose them? Why have our competitors not tried this already? SKATES WHO? WHAT? HOW? WHERE?WHEN? WHY?
  34. 34. 34 “We had trouble building on ideas, and not just thinking about our next question.”
  35. 35. 35 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Best Uses It’s best for teams that are maybe new to brainstorming, or very organized thinkers. Great for conceptualizing big ideas. Don’t Use For free thinkers, big groups or problems that are too narrow in scope.
  36. 36. 36 Homework Brainstorm
  37. 37. 37 Get most of the base-level thinking out of the way ahead of time.
  38. 38. 38 HOMEWORK The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Looks Like This
  39. 39. 39 “Time well spent because we came in with a base of ideas and could jump right in.”
  40. 40. 40 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Best Uses Use for reliable teams that you can count on doing the prep work ahead of time. Most participants should have a working knowledge of the product/brand/problem. Don’t Use For teams without a good understanding of the topic ahead of time. For teams that aren’t going to do the upfront work.
  41. 41. 41 Written Brainstorm
  42. 42. 42 No talking, just ten straight minutes of writing.
  43. 43. 43 HOMEWORK The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Looks Like This
  44. 44. 44 “Brainstorms tend to be controlled by the quickest speakers/thinkers, so it's good way to include everyone.”
  45. 45. 45 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Best Uses Great for concepting, taglines or anything that has a singular output. Also great for teams with less outgoing members, and to generate A LOT of ideas. Don’t Use For broad topics, or to generate ideas from riffing.
  46. 46. 46 Use Brainstorm Modifiers to jumpstart a stalled or failing brainstorm
  47. 47. 47 BRAINSWARMING The Art of the Brainstorm - eROI - 4.19.2016 Environment Change Get outside, play musical chairs, sit on the floor. Do anything you can to mix up people's perspectives. Costanza Method If everything you’re doing is totally wrong, why not to the opposite? Try to come up with ideas that are the opposite of your goal.
  48. 48. 48 Key Takeaways
  49. 49. 49 Do the upfront work. Find the right team. Cultivate trust. Tailor your technique to the group and the project.
  50. 50. 50 Workshop
  51. 51. 51 Each Table assigned a technique 20 minutes We’ll see how each technique comes up with ideas.
  52. 52. 52 You know that in one year, zombies will attack Portland and isolate the city from the outside world. Assume Portland has a 5-day food supply within city limits. What would you do in the next year to prepare the city for a self-sustaining food supply to survive the zombie apocalypse?
  53. 53. 53 Thank You.