Generating new ideas or continually coming up with fresh approaches to sales pitches and presentations isn’t always easy. Sometimes the necessary creativity and energy just doesn’t seem to happen, no matter what you do. And the more you try and force it, the harder it gets. So what can you do to reinvigorate your team brainstorming sessions if they’ve become a bit flat and uninspiring? Well, the secret is to mix things up. And so here we share some tried and tested ways to make your brainstorming sessions more productive.

  1. Have a change of scene

Do you always hold your brainstorming meetings in the conference room? Well, how about changing your physical environment. Not only will it mix things up, research suggests that different environments can speed up the rate at which your brain creates new neurons and neural connections and this could well impact on the ideas your team comes up with.

And so rather than always being in the conference room, explore other possibilities. How about the local coffee shop or even the park if the weather is good? And if it’s not possible to change the venue, then at least freshen things up by getting team members walking around while brainstorming to encourage creativity.

  1. Turn it into a game

Lightening the mood by introducing an element of fun can make all the difference when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing. Word games are a powerful way to release team members from the traditional brainstorming mind set and can encourage some real out-of-the box thinking. Try playing word storm. To get started write down one word associated with the task you’ve been charged with, so it could be ‘presentation’, ‘pitch’ or ‘conference’. Then brainstorm as many words that come to mind from that first word. Don’t overthink it – top of the mind stuff and lateral thinking is what’s needed. Hopefully by the end of the exercise you will have come up with a host of less obvious words and phrases that you can develop into firm ideas.

Mind mapping is another powerful brainstorming tool that you can use to visualise ideas. Start off with a central idea, word or phrase and then branch off into different layers of topics and sub-topics. Use a large sheet of paper or a white board to draw your mind map and make sure you involve all team members in generating ideas.

  1. Create a mood board

A mood board combines imagery, colour and visual-spatial arrangements and is a useful tool for sparking new ideas. It works particularly well if the task is to come up with some new branding or design concepts.

Easy to put together, a mood board is basically a random collection of images, words and textures focused on a topic or theme. They can be either physical boards such as a poster or cork board, or they can be virtual ones with the help of websites such as Pinterest. Use a mood board in your brainstorming sessions to act as a visual prompt and to encourage lateral thinking.

And so, when it comes to reinvigorating your team’s brainstorming sessions, keeping it fresh and mixing things up will make a difference. So give these suggestions a try and see the team’s output of ideas improve as a result.