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3 Tools for Better Brainstorming

By Jessica Wishart

    Mon, Nov 13, 2017 @ 11:30 AM Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

    Creative problem solving is an essential skill in our ever-evolving work world.  As more 3 Tools for Better Brainstormingand more technical and analytical aspects of our work are being automated, we still rely on people for using that data to come up with solutions and strategies for the future. Chances are, members of your team have some great ideas - whether they are for how to get unstuck on a current problem or challenge or for strategies or process improvements that could transform your business and bring you into the future.  

    How can you tap into your team’s best ideas?

    Rhythm offers 3 great tools for better brainstorming: 

    1. Think Rhythm: Often, people have a difficult time shifting their brains from execution mode to brainstorming mode. If you are in a planning session or a weekly meeting, your team’s ideas may be naturally limited by their awareness of what can realistically be accomplished in the next year, quarter, or week. Setting aside a separate time for a Think Rhythm for your team where you set the clear expectation that the time is about idea generation can be very helpful. The goal isn’t to leave with priorities and actions and more work to do; the goal is to step outside that day-to-day mindset and imagine what could be. During these special Think Rhythm meetings, set an objective statement for your Think time so you are all operating off the same set of expectations, create a safe environment where all ideas are validated, ask a lot of open-ended questions, and maybe even use a brainstorming framework to guide your discussions (such as 6 Thinking Hats, Third Alternative, Start-Stop-Keep, “20 Ways to…”)
    2. Ideas Board: If you are a Rhythm software user, you have a great tool that supports any of the brainstorming frameworks I mentioned above. You can ask your team to add ideas to the board and create categories to group them together for further discussion. You can populate categories for topics like Start, Stop and Keep and ask the team to enter ideas under each category. This tool is very flexible, and it gives you a place to ensure that all ideas are captured and shared.

      IdeasBoardExample.png
    3. Ideas Chart: This last tool is especially helpful when you are ready to narrow your list of ideas down to a top few and begin moving from Think mode to Plan mode. For each of the ideas you’ve entered in your Ideas Board, you can rank them on Impact and Ability. Then, you can switch to the chart view to see which items have the biggest impact and require the least amount of effort from the team. Focusing your team on ideas that fall into the top right quadrant can help you begin to narrow the discussion and move from ideas to action.

      Ideas Chart Example.png


    The next time you are facing a problem or searching for your next opportunity, take advantage of these three Rhythm tools to get the most out of your brainstorming time with your team.  

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    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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