Start the session by worming up focusing on a problem which is not related to the problem at hand. In order to encourage people to surpass inhibitions, a possible exercise is "The Silly Cow": come up with a business model that includes a cow. They produce milk, eat grass, and make mooing sounds.
The idea is for people to see they are able to come up with innovative ideas even if in a context radically different from what they do on a daily basis. Moreover, if there are more senior (or power dynamics) in the team, it can help having them onboard showing there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Stay focused
- Define the problem early on. Never let the discussion wander too far from the true purpose of the brainstorming session
- Enforce rules (Facilitators should enforce them)
- "Defer judgement": There will be a time to prioritize ideas
- "One conversation at a time": Avoid split focus in the group
- "Go for quantity": Don't censor yourself based on preconceptions
- "Be visual": Sometimes a drawing or schematic and be more useful than words
- "Encourage wild ideas":
- Think Visually
- Sketch ideas in a way everyone can see
- Using PostIt notes helps to move ideas around and see how they connect
- Prepare the participants with an immersion experience related to the problem at hand. Either by talking to customers, doing a field trip, etc.
These are the other notes that link to this one.