Brainstorming as a team can be one of the best ways to build your critical thinking skills, encourage collaboration, and build trust between team members. The essence of good brainstorming is that everyone has the freedom to throw ideas out there, no matter if they are “good” or “bad” ideas. But brainstorming sessions have the potential to go deep down rabbit holes or veer off track, which is why we encourage providing structure and constraints to the meeting.
One of Google’s guiding principles is “creativity loves constraints” and they apply this by committing to strict deadlines for developing prototypes and implementing ambitious performance requirements on their products.
Constraints provide a challenge to the team and focus your efforts deeper into the problem. When you use this template, set the intention for the brainstorm at the beginning of the meeting. Be clear about the outcome and any other restraints that might help narrow the amount of ideas. If you come up with 100 ideas, it will take too long to sift through them during one meeting. Helpful constraints might be ideas that each person can execute in teams of three or ideas that are under a certain budget.
Once you’ve come up with several ideas, discuss each idea and what it would look like in action. It might be helpful to vote on each idea if there isn’t consensus. Then, refine the best ideas and improve upon them. Happy brainstorming!