A month or so back, I was lucky enough to be an attendee at one Leadership Victoria’s Innnovation series workshops ‘Thinking Strategically to Lead Innovation’. The course explored the concept of innovation and the importance in the business world. It was an interactive day filled with great content. As a group we explored the idea of mind mapping. This got me thinking about brainstorming and throwing ideas about in general.
At the beginning of a campaign – and you can relate this to most workplaces or fields – we all start with a blank canvas. If you’re an artist you could take this quite literally. To get from A to B, a lot of thoughts get thrown about and many thrown away.
Whether you’re ‘storming’ on your own or in a project group, gather lots of good ideas because you can always filter through these after. A good brainstorming session will produce a long list of ideas. When brainstorming as a team, ensure that everyone present has a voice and participates. Brainstorming within your company encourages teamwork and fosters a positive group dynamic where everyone is contributing to a common goal. If it’s appropriate include members of other departments within your organisation – this extends the teamwork and camaraderie throughout the project and the company.
Even if your best idea ends up being your original one, the other ideas can be used to enhance the original idea and/or create future marketing campaigns. Put simply you can never have too many ideas – a bit like the old golden rule – there is no stupid question. Brainstorming is an invaluable tool when you don’t have any ideas and are completely stuck on a problem.
The brainstorming process will not only produce ideas, but it can also be used to help develop ideas into specific actions. This is where mind mapping comes in. Mind mapping (or concept mapping) involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas which radiate out from the centre. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.
The most productive and effective brainstorming sessions follow a process. Mind mapping has a few simple rules that allow the ideas to flow in a more effective way. Use colour, keep space for more ideas that might pop into your head. Put your central idea in the middle – this allows other ideas to radiate out and unlock others. Mind mapping is a great visual tool to allow the sharing of ideas to reach the end goal. It allows for collaboration.
Remember, great ideas can come from anywhere and often from where you least expect. Some of our best marketing ideas have been generated on a whim, or whilst working on a completely different project. Don’t forget to write these ideas down at the time, this is why we think pen and paper are an essential tool.
Who doesn’t love a sharpie and butchers paper!
Jack and the c word crew