Canadian Manufacturing

Brainstorm for profit: 5 tips to generate better ideas

Often the best and most original ideas come from people who can see the task from an unencumbered perspective.



TORONTO—Ideas are at the root of everything we do, so how do you weed out the so-so ideas from the unique ones?

“We all work with different thought centres and it’s important to tap into as many of those thought centres as possible when facilitating any sort of creativity session,” says Marilyn Barefoot, President of Barefoot Brainstorming and leading brainstorming expert. “Thought centres include verbal, visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, tactile, spatial and script.”

Marilyn’s suggests five tips to generate brainstorming success:

1. Physical movment
This is hugely underestimated in most brainstorming sessions. It is critical that you get people “into action.” Let them search for something, do something active—just get people out of their chairs and moving. This taps into the kinesthetic thought centre.

2. Music
Music will help stimulate creativity. Use it as often as you can. It also helps keep the energy high in the room and taps into the auditory thought centre.

3. Fresh faces
Always invite new people to the session. Often the best and most original ideas come from people who can see the task from an unencumbered perspective. It doesn’t matter if they have never worked on the business before. Sometimes it’s better if they haven’t.

4. Fun equals success!
Bring toys. Children do most of their learning through playing with toys. When we become adults we often lose touch with that inner child who sees things as brand new. Fun is a critical element in the creative process. This taps into the tactile thought centre.

5. All ideas have value
You must ensure that everyone shares their thoughts with the rest of the group, no matter how “crazy” they might seem. There is a reason why things pop into your brain unexpectedly!  Plus, it maintains the creative momentum of the group since other guests will “piggyback” on the idea. I disagree with people who say, “There is no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorming session.” I would rather they say, “All ideas have value.”

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