In PR, or any business for that matter, we are constantly looking for new ideas, new angles, new products and new ways to service clients because creativity gives businesses an edge. It keeps things innovative, interesting and drives business forward. Without it we’d be seeing and hearing the same old thing.
Our clients find our brainstorming sessions for PR strategy and social media strategy very enlightening. So what can we do to expand our creative thinking? There are a number of different techniques and the most common approach is brainstorming.
The idea of brainstorming is to write down ideas and solutions in a structured or unstructured way to find out some possible options. It’s a way for people to stimulate each other’s creativity and produce an array of ideas. If a brainstorming session is in a group make sure you have a leader and a scribe.
Here are some rules to guide you through a brainstorming session:
Do not criticise. This is important if you want your team to speak up. A team member will not share anymore ideas if their first idea is ridiculed in front of the others. Take on each idea and discuss the more practical ones later. Encourage a positive and uncritical attitude among the group members.
Quantity is needed. The more ideas you have, the more you can work from and the broader your imagination can span.
Build on ideas presented. The ideas being shared in the brainstorming session can arouse more ideas. Modifying, combining or elaborating ideas will lead to more specific solutions. This can take the idea into a new direction or simply make the original idea better.
Here are some simple techniques or variations of brainstorming:
Encourage participants to come up with wild ideas, although you may not use these ideas it might inspire a more practical idea. For example, the problem you were solving was to do with decreasing the paperwork in the office, the wild idea would be to get rid of paperwork altogether (wouldn’t that be nice?) and the more practical idea would be to use electronic means to email documents (and only use paperwork when absolutely essential).
Round Robin Brainstorming
Instead of group members shouting out random ideas, each person will get a turn to contribute something using a ‘round robin’ system. Who knows, maybe someone will blurt out a great idea under pressure.
Get the members of the group to write down their idea on a sheet of paper. After 10 minutes rotate the sheets to a different person and build on what the others have written on their sheet. Continue to rotate until everyone has written on each sheet and discuss.
Get each person to write down their ideas on a piece of paper, pop it in a hat (or bowl) and read each one out loud. This will give participants anonymity to protect against criticism and a chance to share something they might not have contributed to the group.
Commonly used in brainstorming, mind mapping is a great tool to organise ideas. You begin by putting your goal in the centre of the page, then start branching out into major sub-topics. Then you continue to branch and link all the ideas. This will give you a network of ideas to work from that are connected by their arbitrary relationships and allows you to explore paths of thought that may not have been obvious.
Brainstorming is a great way to discover new ideas, they’re out there, go get them.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.