We've all been there: the blank page, the blinking cursor, the pressure to come up with the next big thing. But what if the answer wasn't about solitary genius, but about the collective spark of brainstorming?
Brainstorming, the free-flowing exchange of ideas, is more than just a way to generate catchy marketing ideas. It's a powerful tool for fostering a culture of learning in the workplace.
More than ever, innovative and creative companies are surging ahead of competitors — particularly those with a strong culture of learning at work. Organizations that incorporate a culture of brainstorming not only prioritize innovation but also place a strategic emphasis on cultivating a robust culture of learning within the workplace.
Brainstorming at work: The foundations of a learning culture
The foundations of impactful brainstorming at work include creating an inclusive environment, setting clear goals, and using collaborative tools.
At the heart of brainstorming best practices lies a deliberate focus on fostering collaboration and nurturing meaningful relationships among team members. It's more than just a buzzword—it's a commitment to creating an environment where every idea is valued, and each employee plays a vital role in the collective journey toward excellence.
The benefits of brainstorming in the workplace are evident through the numbers. According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Business Psychology, brainstorming sessions led to a 15% increase in employee engagement and a 20% boost in perceived creativity. So, as a bustling organization, how can you build a culture of brainstorming? Let’s learn.
What are the best practices for effective brainstorming in the workplace?
Consider these six points to reap the benefits of not only great ideas but a stronger culture of learning at work:
1. Start with a focus on quantity
The NIU researchers determined the enhanced team cohesion experienced by participants of high-quantity brainstorming sessions was driven in part by the number of opportunities for more people to connect with proposed concepts and work towards a common goal. "As groups sample more ideas, it should increase the likelihood that an idea will emerge that resonates with multiple group members and contributes to a shared vision," the study said. This highlights the importance of starting a brainstorming meeting with a focus on generating many ideas, as it can lead to stronger team cohesion and a greater chance of finding a successful idea.
Boost the chances that participants will make lots of suggestions by encouraging a "no judgment" policy. A positive, open approach ensures all ideas are shared and people feel that the brainstorming experience is collaborative and inclusive.
A supportive brainstorming session can transition naturally into further collaborative work once a solution is selected.
2. Encourage "piggybacking"
The more ideas the group considers, the more likely it is that one person's suggestion will inspire a related idea or further development from another participant, according to the NIU study. This practice is called "piggybacking." Piggybacking sparks collaboration among team members, who all feel ownership of the ideas, enhancing their buy-in to resulting projects. Encouraging "piggybacking" and using mind maps allows teams to build upon the ideas of others, creating a culture of learning and collaboration in the brainstorming process.
Promoting a culture of supportive sharing, rather than quickly dismissing ideas that seem impractical, will lead to more ideas and open the door to creative piggybacking.
3. Use workplace tools in collaborative brainstorming
A brainstorming meeting doesn't have to take place at a set time and place. Any organization with a strong culture of learning at work is likely to have a robust learning management system (LMS). Encouraging ongoing brainstorming at work and setting aside time specifically for it makes sure everyone is heard, even employees who tend to be quieter in group settings or need more time to process an idea before sharing it. Using workplace tools, such as a central location like an LMS or a real-time brainstorming platform like Slack, can enhance collaboration and creativity in brainstorming sessions.
An LMS can hold a wealth of resources, such as worksheets, infographics, and videos. Participants can use those resources to spark new ideas before or during a brainstorm. Taking advantage of the LMS to host collaborative work and discussion threads enables participants to contribute ideas, share comments, and enhance other ideas at any time.
Read the blog: How to create a culture of learning at work
4. Strengthen your dispersed teams
Fostering teamwork and cohesiveness is especially important with dispersed teams. Using the LMS as a hub for brainstorming sessions and ensuing discussions enables teammates to participate across regions and time zones, shrinking the distance between them and solidifying collaborative efforts.
It also enables more employees to participate, as the generation of ideas is not limited to those who can attend a brainstorming meeting. Employees can upload a video of themselves describing their ideas, for example. Use your LMS to host these videos plus additional content that participants can use to find inspiration or collaboratively flesh out ideas. This will result in better ideas and increased connections among far-flung colleagues.
5. Keep the teamwork going
Coming up with great ideas is only the starting point. Collaboration can continue as team members develop the ideas and consider which ones to implement.
Using the same LMS tools that enable them to gather and share ideas, the team can group related ideas, raise potential issues, and ask and answer questions. They can also put their new collaborative work approach into practice on other tasks and problems.
6. Get manager buy-in
For collaborative creativity in the workplace to succeed, the culture of learning at work must support it. Managers can encourage collaboration by ensuring employees have time to participate and by noticing, acknowledging, and acting on innovative ideas that emerge from the team efforts.
Managers can also encourage brainstorming by ensuring all team members and employees at all levels of the organization participate and are recognized for their contributions.
Tap into the benefits of a strong learning culture
The benefits of creativity and a strong culture of learning at work are clear. Innovative companies outperform competitors and retain top employees longer. Managers see immediate benefits, too, as their employees—whether in the same office or dispersed—gel into an efficient and cooperative team through collaborative brainstorming.
Request a live demo today to discover how Absorb LMS can bolster your team's brainstorming and creative endeavors.