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You’re a leader because you’re an ideas person. You conceptualize, strategize and execute. It’s what makes you a boss. But as a busy multitasker, you know that even the most creative-minded go-getters could use some help generating winning ideas on a regular basis.

Brainstorming can be a helpful way to engage your team members as creativity resources. Gathering everyone in a conference room or around a coffee table to hash out ideas and strategies can offer fresh perspectives and take your campaign in new directions.

Check out the following secrets to a successful brainstorming sesh.  

1. Stay the course: Think of imagination as a muscle–and brainstorming as the ideal workout. The more you condition, the more you can flex. Anyone can condition their mind to generate great ideas, as long as they remain consistent. Your first few brainstorming sessions may not produce disruptive results, but each session helps your imagination achieve peak creative condition. Remember: the benefits of exercising are cumulative, so stay committed to the process.

It’s imperative to get your creative juices flowing with regular brainstorming sessions. And if nothing else, remember this pro tip: Exhaust all ideas. Lay all the options on the table before you start determining what’s feasible. There are no bad ideas when brainstorming.

Ivy Newman, The Viney Group

2. Get messy: If brainstorming were tidy and organized, it’d be called something else. So lay it all out on the table and leave it there. Weighing and critiquing contributions is a helpful and necessary part of the creative process, but not during brainstorming sessions when the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible. So stretch your imagination as far as it will go, snap it back and stretch it all over again.

3. Think like a child: In 1968, double-digit Grammy and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Herbie Hancock recorded Speak Like a Child. His unbound creativity spans decades, and so can yours. As you brainstorm, engage your inner child and wonder, “What if…?” and “Could we…?” and “Why not…?” Wonderment leads to humor, ingenuity, clarity of thought and discovery.

4. Include everything: This tenet is one every Type A business owner (you know who you are) would be wise to remember: When brainstorming, there are no bad ideas. Repeat: There are no bad ideas. You never know what may spark a winning idea–sometimes they spark from crazy ones. Not every brainstorming session needs to be a Freudian association exercise, but that’s not a bad way to begin generating ideas!

5. Involve everyone: Some of the world’s largest, most successful corporate enterprises live by the same rule: If you’re in the room, you’re part of the idea. This line isn’t just a team morale boost; it’s the principle of creative chemistry. Whether you’re seeking a snappy campaign slogan or a comprehensive rebrand initiative, including a variety of energies in a single brainstorm can offer your business high-impact results.

5. Be exhaustive. Once you and your team have gotten all–I mean all–your ideas out of your heads and onto the whiteboard, only then should you begin analyzing. During brainstorming sessions, every idea is helpful, but only certain ideas prove feasible, so be selective but kind. When you critique, honor everyone’s ideas and contributions so your team feels supported and appreciated, excited to be part of the next big brainstorm.

by Ivy Newman

by Ivy Newman

As a marketing consultant, Ivy concentrates on strategically working with executives and business owners on solutions for structuring and creatively implementing the right marketing plan to increase business. The brainstorming process is her favorite activity when engaging clients.