Did you know that a human brain touts more than 100 Billion cells and from those, 100 trillion connections are formed? There is no one-right-way to solve a problem. Conflict of personalities, limitations of technology, personnel drawbacks, or any other number of challenges all has a major repercussion on the decisions that we make. This’s why it is prudent to sit in a room with smart people, chuck some ideas at the wall and see what sticks and what bounces back.
Before you sit down and squander your energy, follow these six brainstorming techniques which can help project managers brainstorm better ideas. These ideas can be used in a meeting with any number of people, and in diversified industries as well.
In a project management environment, meeting deadlines leave a good impression on your client, and on a personal level, your boss starts to take notice of you if you manage to complete projects on-time. Each brainstorming technique is judiciously crafted to take the most from every individual and come-up with the best ideas for the project.
The following brainstorming technique can be done solo or within a group of people. All you need is a pen, a paper, and a quiet place. Here is how it goes. You pick a single idea and give everyone time, somewhere from 10 minutes to an hour, to jot down everything that comes to their mind pertaining to that particular idea.
This technique works best when you push all the boundaries of your mind and let your mind wander freely to come-up with all the words centering on that one idea.
It is possible that you might brainstorm some ridiculous ideas. Don’t beat yourself up. This is just a part of the process. The point is to relax, let go, and let your subconscious mind take the reins.
There exist an unlimited number of brainstorming techniques out there, but if your project deadline is looming just ahead, you can use the Brainwriting technique to consider numerous ideas which can jump-start your creativity.
The idea is polymorphic in nature, which means that it can take different forms as it progresses. The activity starts with a team, and a leader outlining the basic idea in front of everyone. Instead of yelling their ideas out loud, each team member jots down their ideas pertaining to a central idea on sheets of paper. Each participant has to pass their ideas on to someone else, who consider them and add their own two cents. After a moment, this participant passes this sheet on to someone else, who adds their own ideas to the mix.
Once the last person is done writing his idea, the leader takes the papers and starts eliminating ideas which are not practical in the current scenario. The left-out ideas are the ones which can help you reach your project deadline without firing some of your employees.
3) Virtual Brainstorming
This brainstorming technique is not just for people who are present in the room. This technique extends to people who are working remotely for you. All you need is a good internet connection and an uncluttered, rejuvenated brain to start with.
Solicit the help of online collaboration tools, such as TaskQue, to virtually connect with people in real-time under a centralized platform. Just start a project and add people whom you want to include in the discussion. There will be a virtual layer of security when you’re brainstorming ideas with people who are not present with you.
But with TaskQue, you don’t need to worry about taking a scrap of paper and analyzing each and every paper.
One of the most engaging and playful ways of brainstorming ideas is Role storming. In this method, you don’t think like yourself, rather, you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And, interestingly enough, it allows you to think like someone else. Your boss? Or even your mentor.
There is no limit to the role you aspire to choose. While going through a financial setback, you can act like Warren Buffett, to generate innovative ideas you can be the next Steve Jobs. To think beyond your limits, you can act like Bill Gates. As they say ‘Fake it till you make it.’
As a matter of fact, this is a fantastic way to cultivate out-of-the-box, creative ideas without losing your own identity. This is because Role storming entails participants to step out of their own skins and venture into somebody else’s. This experience allows them to perceive the opportunity or the problem in a new way—and, often, to come up with new and creative ideas.
5) Topic mapping
This one is the easiest on our list. Simply gather in front of a whiteboard and ask all your teammates to suggest ideas that pertain to the problem. For each idea, place a pin on the whiteboard. Map ideas in the form of a tree.
When everyone runs out of ideas, you’ll be able to see the big picture. Are you focusing on the key topic area? If not, try this exercise again. Explore subtopics that seem interesting and can bring you closer to solving a problem.
6) 101 Ideas77
Coming up with ideas is hard but coming up with great ideas is even a tougher nut to crack. Therefore, this final brainstorming technique will help you generate the maximum number of ideas within a limited time frame.
While ‘101’ ideas ring a pleasant tone, you can come up with 50 ideas or even 20 ideas from each member of the group. You can take turns and ask each person to pen down one idea on a piece of paper. You can do this until you run out of time. Once you’re done with ideas, you’ll have a ton of ideas to start with.
There is no one way to solve a problem. This is why these brainstorming techniques can help you generate ideas which will help you complete your projects on time.