It's no secret that I'm not too fond of brainstorms.
They are mostly a waste of time. Unless you want to get buy in from members of an external or external team by making feel part of the idea creation. But that, of course, takes very careful meeting design and a masterclass in moderation.
There's simply too much evidence from all sorts of psychology that they don't work.
I won't bore you with the evidence, but read it here if you're interested. Take it from years of the collective experience of great folks I've worked with - brainstorms should be avoided by the plague.
There is a school of creativity that's about the solid, hard graft of the individual. Start with stuff that that isn't much good, then continuously work out what's wrong with it until you get something ace. Work that emerges, evolves through sheer patience and determination.
But there is an easier way.
If you're in a hurry, take a small amount of people, I mean no more than four, away from the usual office environment for an hour. Clever people who trust each other, with slightly different skills. Present a clear problem and just talk. That's right, a simple conversation.
Because if you trust each other, you don't have to bother with that, 'any idea is a good idea'. You can be honest about what is ace and what is dreadful - and take rejection on board.
Because small teams bounce off each other while big groups stifle.
Because a change of scenery immediately invigorates the brain.
Because it's the sparks that come from people who fill each others gaps that matter.
And in the longer term, talk about the project all the time with the team. It's the conversations that generate ideas. You just need to the awareness and humility to spot when someone else has a great idea, and the generosity to acknowledge it.
And, from a personal perspective, I'm rubbish at thinking in my head, but okay at thinking out loud. The act of writing things down too early destroys my thought process, but talking it through seems to when ideas finally come out of my tiny brain. I literally talk ideas into coming out of their hiding places. I suspect I'm not the only one.
You just need to THEN write them down before they disappear like a puff of smoke.
It's good to talk as the saying goes.