Rules for brainstorming

1. Focus on quantity

You've probably heard of the phrase "quality over quantity," but when it comes to brainstorming, the exact opposite is true. The more ideas, the better.

Instead of trying to come up with one great idea, put your focus on quantity and try to come up with as many ideas as possible. This method gives you more options to choose from and can inspire others to think about new ideas. Not every idea will be great, but one bad idea can also lead to several good ones.

The more ideas that are shared, the more likely it is that a few usable ideas will eventually roll out that you can develop further.

2. Leave out criticism

Negativity has no place in a brainstorming session. No idea is better than another. If you criticize ideas, people are less willing to share their ideas, which again goes against the first rule of ‘quantity over quality’. Abstaining from criticism creates an environment where people can freely share their thoughts and ideas without fear that their input will be considered "wrong" or "stupid.

When people are no longer afraid of criticism, they are more likely to share not only more ideas, but also more fun and crazy ideas. Unusual ideas are very important for brainstorming and should definitely be heard.

3. Be open to unusual ideas

Encourage people to express any idea, no matter how bizarre. Unique, unusual and even eccentric ideas may not always be feasible, but they can lead to innovative solutions that you hadn't thought of before. It is important to allow an unconventional angle in a brainstorming session. By doing so, you create an open space for creativity and ensure that more ideas are shared.

4. Combine and improve ideas

Build further on previous ideas. Obviously, your team can't make every idea a reality, but they can serve very well as inspiration.

Combine concepts to create new solutions. Evaluate all ideas to determine which ones are feasible, innovative, and best suited to achieve your goal. Hitch a ride on those ideas and suggest opportunities for improvements or similar alternatives. No idea is foolproof. Even if it's not originally your own, that doesn't mean you can't add to it. Building on the ideas shared helps teams find the best solution to the goal or problem.