No matter the project, whether it is working with a startup, designing a new online course, or even something far more personal, I find, as do many people, that brainstorming ideas, approaches and solutions, is the most effective way to take control and to get started. I want to share with you today the most effective method I have ever found for brainstorming.
Embrace the Post-it
I certainly didn’t come up with this idea, and I’m sure you’ve seen it used before, but the concept of Design Thinking with Post-it notes stuck on a wall or board truly is the best way to brainstorm. Not only does it allow you to see all of the many ideas at a glance, it allows you to move ideas around, and to share the ideas with others. And as much as we embrace the digital age as startups, there is still value in committing something to paper, to having something in your hand and writing an idea down. White boards and other such technologies just don’t have the same impact.
The Post-it note process can suit many purposes but is really great if you want to define something such as a roadmap or a way forward. I recommend starting by sharing your purpose and your values, and placing those at the top of the wall. Then add product ideas – your global vision for what you want to develop for the long term. You also want to include a list of resources – assets, or what you know or possess. Other things to brainstorm include features and technologies, and be sure to consider both your long and short-term vision.
Remember that the intent of brainstorming is to develop a storm of ideas so don’t overthink things. Jot down everything that comes to mind, even those you immediately think are irrelevant because they may inspire something else. Don’t take time to think, just write. The evaluation of your ideas will come later. Set a time limit for your session so that everyone has a goal in mind, and be sure to equip everyone with more Post-its than you think they could possibly use to not curb the flow in case they have many ideas.
Once you’ve done your initial brainstorming session, walk away. Leave everything on the wall and come back to it later, later that day or the next day, with a clear mind. This way, you will be able to better evaluate what has been generated and decide what makes sense or what doesn’t, and what comes next.
Save you train of thought
I actually like to put my Post-its on a large piece of paper. That way, I can move off the ideas that are useful now, and I fold up and tuck away those that are not being used to come back to down the road. You never know when ideas that were once irrelevant or not right for the time, can inspire your next great idea.
If you want to better understand this concept of idea generation and roadmap definition, I invite you to check out my blog post on graphic facilitation or to check out my startup courses on myctofriend.co.