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Brainstorming, which dates back to the 1940s, remains one of the most widely used strategies for companies looking to generate fresh new ideas. After all, two heads are better than one, right? When done correctly, brainstorms can increase the number of new ideas, successfully build on or combine existing ideas, and spark creativity and collaboration. But according to research, 90 percent of companies are conducting brainstorming in ways that can actually lead to diminished idea quality, decreased productivity and a decline in employee morale.Enter the brainstorming makeover. Simple changes to the way we think about brainstorming as well as adopting new techniques and methods can keep the tried and true practice of brainstorming bursting with value. Keep reading to find out more.Transform your next brainstorm
Here are some leading-edge techniques you can infuse into your next brainstorm to generate stellar ideas.

  • Blitzing: During a brainstorming blitz, participants are asked to work individually to come up with nine new ideas in two minutes. When time is up, everyone shares their raw, unfiltered ideas with the group. The notion behind blitzing is that it overcomes the barrier known as production blocking, where participants either forget their ideas while waiting their turn or are inhibited by the ideas of others. Blitzing can generate a huge amount of ideas in a short period of time, while ensuring the inclusion of all participants. Gather a group and give it a try. Choose participants with diverse skill sets from varied departments. Communicate the goal, outline the objectives and hit the button on the timer—ready, set, go! Providing participants with a bright Sun Spiral Notebook and pen set not only gives them a great place to scrawl their new and creative ideas, but it also makes a nice thank-you for participation.
  • Brainswarming: Brainstorming relies on a thunderstorm metaphor—a sudden onset of energy and noise that momentarily garners everyone’s attention, whereas a brainswarm looks more like a swarm of bees coming together to “swarm” a problem. The swarm doesn’t dissipate, rather it shifts, changes and keeps moving from problem to problem, taking with it the knowledge it gained while solving the last one. This process is continuous and sparks innovation. Choose teams that work well together and can sustain long-term collaboration. Arm your brainswarmers with a brainswarm survival kit. After all, committing to a swarm says they’re in it for the long haul. Fill a bee sport pack with fun, idea-generating items, such as a Brain Stress Reliever, a pack of Post-it® Notes and a scented pen, and watch the swarm begin.
  • e-Brainstorming: In e-Brainstorms, participants use computers for idea sharing. e-Brainstorms allow for independent contributions and can be a great way to include those who are normally shy or quiet as well as associates working remotely. Submitted ideas are compiled and presented by a facilitator for the team to review. e-Brainstorms have several advantages. First, since only the facilitator knows the identity of the contributor, there is a sense of anonymity that can work to enhance idea generation. e-Brainstorms can also increase productivity since participants can share and review ideas on their own schedule. And, since they have to submit their ideas individually, no one can fly under the radar. Promote participation and show employees you’re grateful for their time with a small gift. A Phone Stand with Stylus or Urban Tablet Sleeve makes an excellent choice.

Using these new and improved methods of brainstorming will likely help it keep its place as the most widely used method for idea generation. Try one or all of these techniques when conducting your next session—it may just bring life to your company’s next best idea. For more information on brainstorming, check out our Blue Papers®.

Brainstorming.” 4imprint.com. N.p., 14 Apr. 2014. Web. Retrieved 24 Apr. 2014.

Who Says Brainstorming Doesn’t Work?Zurb. 5 Mar. 2012. Web. Retrieved 05 Mar. 2014.

Hudson, Ken. “Instead of Brainstorming—Try Blitzing!” N.p., 22 Nov. 2012. Web. Retrieved 27 Feb. 2014.

The New Art of Brainswarming.IdeaPaint. N.p., 18 July 2013. Web. Retrieved 10 Mar. 2014.

Effective brainstorming techniques.” N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 27 Feb. 2014.

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