How to Improve Your Brainstorming Sessions at Work

According to brainstorming means “a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.” I had the opportunity to go through such a session, though we did not call it that, at the IBM Insight conference.

Invited Futurists

I was part of a group of invited “futurists” and “influencers” asked to attend an incredible conference put on by IBM. As part of our experience we spent several hours divided into four groups, two focused on HR and social influence, another group focused on the world of mobile engagement and the last focused on the world of commerce. We looked at present disruption and what things are going to look like in 10 years. However, my purpose in this blog is not to write about those sessions, at least not yet. This blog has a different purpose.

How Can Brainstorming Be Improved?

The group I was with was composed of about 30 very smart people with some very diverse backgrounds and we created some great ideas, but could we have been better? According to an article in the website Media Update there are three types of people that you should invite to your brainstorming session.

The first type should be an artist. According to Media Update, quoting Skull-A-Day creative phenomenon, Noah Scalin: “The set of skills artists learn allows us to be consistently innovative and consistently come up with new ideas.” Further “An artist with a different world view could be the innovative creative force you need to unlock a different way of marketing your brand.”

The second type of person that should be invited to participate is a Data Scientist. As I learned at the IBM Insight conference data is critically important to understanding today’s world. According to Media Update, Data = Power, and you need to have some in you session that understands someone who can understand the power of the data and interpret it for you.

The third type of person, the Futurist, we had covered pretty well. According to Media Update “Simply put, a Futurist is a person who studies the future and makes predictions about it based on current trends. The word has also become a verb: ‘To Future’; and ‘Futuring’ is now being used as a disruption technique by business leaders trying to tap in to the zeitgeist that they can’t quite put their finger on. The benefit of inviting a skilled Futurist into your Tribe is that they may identify mega-trends that will have a great impact on the social and business economy.

Futurists can indeed be a disruptive influence and as shown in the IBM Insight conference data can also be a disruptive influence as well.

The next time you have a brainstorming session take a lesson from this post and reach outside your box an invite an artist, a data scientist and a futurist to your session. It may be no joke when you ask “What do you get when an artist, a data scientist and a futurist walk into a meeting?” The answer may be creativity.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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