State your project’s audience and objective in a clear and focused way.
Brainstorming is a place and time where anything goes. Rules:
Start sharing ideas. Note them somewhere where everyone can see (whether that be a poster, whiteboard, or in your Hugo meeting notes in the highlighted area below). To keep your creative juices flowing you may also want to provide toys, coloring books, magazines, doodling pads etc.
Stop and take a vote on each idea. Thumbs up or down. Toss the ideas that lack support.
Look at the best ideas from halftime. Ask if there are ways to improve them, or come up with ideas that are similar.
Once you’ve covered each of the good ideas, generate more new ideas just as you did at the beginning of the session.
This sample meeting agenda gives you a step-by-step process to run a creative brainstorming session. Included in the template are instructions designed to help make your brainstorming as creative as possible.
A brainstorming session is going to be the most productive if it starts with a clear goal. Before the meeting even begins, state the project’s audience and objective at the top of the meeting agenda. This explanation doesn’t have to be in great detail, but it should be clear and actionable.
After that, it’s a good idea to remind all participants of the best practices for any given brainstorming session. You want ideas to flow freely, so even if everyone at your meeting is accustomed to brainstorming, reiterating these rules is an excellent ritual to help get everyone in the right frame of mind.
The rest of this sample meeting follows a pretty basic structure. You will brainstorm up ideas and list them out. Then, around halfway through the meeting, you should stop and vote on what you have so far. Take a handful of the best ideas and see if you can refine them to make them even better. Then, open the floor up again to any concept. This process of focusing, mid-meeting, will help engage different parts of your creative brain to solve problems in new ways.
In some brainstorming meetings, you will need to decide as to what idea to move forward with. In others, that decision may come after stakeholders have had a chance to review and think through all the potential options. Either way, leave the meeting with whatever next steps need to be taken listed at the bottom of the meeting agenda along with who is responsible.