Brainstorming is one of the most exciting, valuable, and flat-out fun aspects of my work. Whatever the task – from designing a brand to generating a big pile of sticky content – nothing is more rewarding than unearthing great ideas and strategies.

Even the word itself is wonderful. “Brainstorm.” Yes please. Lightning and rumbling in the old noggin? Sign me up. (As it turns out, some sharp people did some killer brainstorming to create the word “brainstorm.”)

But the truth is, killer brainstorming is a rarity. It requires a delicate balance between encouraging creativity and harnessing it.

With the right tools, that’s not too tough to accomplish. But with no tools, group brainstorms can quickly turn into free-for-alls—or idea-bashing sessions. In either case, the outcome is confusion and frustration rather than inspiration and focus.

So try this:

  1. Think
  2. Share
  3. Review
  4. Discuss

Think on your own, share with the group, review independently, and finally, discuss together. Then sit back and watch creativity and strategy in action.

For more detail on this method, check out Art Markman or read Nadia Goodman’s recent article in Entrepreneur.

Happy brain work.

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