Warm up your brain—it’s time to pump out some ideas. Productive brainstorms promote critical thinking. Brainstorming encourages collaboration and can help your business grow. We offer techniques and employee giveaways to get your team thinking creatively (and to thank them for their efforts).
Get everyone involved with thank-you gifts for employees
A couple of outgoing people can unintentionally dominate a brainstorm. To be sure that doesn’t happen, focus on ways to involve every employee—even those who identify as introverts. Try “round-robin” brainstorming, where each person on the team contributes one idea. No one can critique or dismiss any idea. To show that you appreciate every thought—whether it gets used or not—hand out thank-you gifts for employees. Wine Tumblers and BlenderBottles are excellent options.
Another brainstorming technique, “starbursting,” involves a six-pointed star. The challenge you’re trying to conquer goes in the middle, and each point of the star answers who, what, when, where, why and how. For example: “What has worked in the past?” “Where did we use those tactics?” And “why are we looking for a new strategy in this particular situation?”
The goal of the questions is to spark discussions that dig deeper, connect dots and get ideas flowing. When the final strategy has been decided (even if it’s weeks later), present everyone who “starbursted” with a star-shaped highlighter. It’s a great way to remind your team that every person’s thought counts.
Use unconventional settings and brain-boosting employee giveaways
Sometimes, people may have an idea they’re hesitant to share. They may feel their idea is unrealistic. Or they may just feel stuck. To help overcome these barriers, ask your team to focus on someone else, asking themselves, “What would X person do in this situation?” It could be the company CEO, a famous person or even a fictional character. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes helps generate fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.
You can also spark creativity by switching up the scenery. This sort of refresh can help people think differently and come up with new ideas. Try going to a busy outdoor café with ambient noise. Or a scenic park with lots of fresh air. You can even swap out team members so staff aren’t always brainstorming with the same people.
Go in reverse (and offer a useful gift to show gratitude)
Reverse brainstorming means coming up with the wrong things to do. It’s often easier than “normal” brainstorming as it prevents people from getting stuck. It also provides insight into areas you can strengthen. For example, if you’re trying to build your referral program, you could write down:
- Never offer incentives.
- Don’t promote on social media.
- Be unclear on the perfect client we’re trying to attract.
Now all you do is flip the switch and there you go—you have your starting points. Reverse brainstorming is a fantastic way to get people engaged, laughing and enjoying the process. To really drive home this non-traditional tactic and keep it fun, hand out employee giveaways, like a Reversible Tablet Sleeve, sportpack or moisture-wicking vest.
Do step-by-step mind mapping with helpful branded supplies
Mind mapping is efficient and strategic. Simply start with the one big thing you’re trying to accomplish and break it down from there. Provide your team with Scribbler Memo Boards or Clear Dry-Erase Memo Boards and one big dry-erase marker (or multiple colorful chisel-tipped dry-erase markers). Then:
- Write down the problem/task you’re trying to solve/accomplish.
- Surround the problem/task with anything that could help you reach your goal (for instance, if you’re trying to boost email open rates, you could jot ideas like “relevant content” and “unique subject lines”).
- Surround each of those ideas with the necessary steps to reach them (for example, “emojis” and “varying lengths” could be placed next to “unique subject lines”).
- Keep going until you have actionable steps you can take to reach your end goal.
Easily promote good ideas
With techniques like using unconventional settings, providing brain-boosting employee giveaways and showing appreciation with thank-you gifts for employees, you’ll easily promote productive brainstorm sessions. Good luck!