I’ve Got A Head Full Of Ideas That Are Driving Me Insane

I’ve always been a good brainstormer. Like Dylan in Maggie’s Farm, I’ve got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane. (True, except for the insanity part.)

When you’re meeting with a group of people in a conference room trying to come up with new ideas, and just sitting across a table at Starbucks or Breadco from a client or consultant, inspiration can strike organically. But usually it must be stimulated or, at least, nudged a bit.

Here are some of my thoughts on brainstorming:

  1. Make a list. Yes, you’ll be making notes during the conversation, but it’s good to generate ideas on your own before you meet.
  2. Don’t discount any ideas that are shared. If they are outlandish, maybe they can be modified to fit your needs.
  3. Don’t limit thinking to “outside the box.” Pardon my being metaphorical here, but there are usually good ideas inside the box. Either they’ve not been discovered or were never properly utilized.
  4. Give everyone an opportunity to speak. Although they may not be as loud as some of us, the less assertive may have the best ideas.
  5. Keep an open mind. Sometimes it takes a while to wrap your brain around an idea that initially may seem absurd.
  6. Avoid ignoring ideas that may have been tried before. An idea that didn’t work in 1997 may work in 2014. Those offering input likely have different historical perspectives from you.
  7. Show appreciation for participation. Even if nothing significant comes from your brainstorming session, you should say thanks for sharing. You may want to solicit input from them in the future.
  8. Follow up. Revisit the list of ideas that are generated and/or refined during your meeting a couple of days later. Some may be immediately actionable while others may need to percolate a while before they’re ready to go.

The best ideas are golden, commodities to be treasured. Value them.




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