Today I had the honour to facilitate a brainstorming session for a new Slow Food Nova Scotia project at their AGM.
We had very little time in a tight agenda, and we needed to hear ideas as well as concerns from the members.
Sometimes groups will default into an open floor discussion; these can be lengthy, get heated, and dominated by the more outspoken members of the group.
What I lead the group through instead today, was a fast-moving,
high-energy, creative brainstorming session.
Within 10 minutes, we harvested the groups questions, concerns,
connections and ideas. We heard many different voices and perspectives from different members. And we brought some extra energy and
excitement about this project into the AGM, while allowing space for concerns.
Hosting a really successful brainstorming session is not as simple as we think; I have seen many drift off into lengthy discussions or render very few results with low innovation.
Here are some tips for hosting a successful brainstorming session:
- Ask a powerful question – start with How or What & avoid yes/no questions
- Give everyone 2 minutes to think on their own before sharing
- Don’t filter or discuss – that’s for later
- Include some movement wherever possible – it helps our brains think and get creative
- Need to hear about different aspects? Create categories or fields on a flipchart and ask people to pin/write their ideas into those.