Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brainstorming: As Messy As It's Necessary

When's the last time you allowed yourself to forge ahead with an unedited, uncensored, uninhibited train of thought for at least a few minutes--and you took notes while doing it?

In other words, when's the last time you brainstormed?

Brainstorming is vital to the creative process, whether it's dreaming up a headline, the name of your next child, or planning a 50th wedding anniversary party. Here are guiding principles I follow in my brainstorming pursuits:

1. The path to The Great Idea is littered with terrible, hokey, cliched, painfully bad ideas. I must be willing to go through those potholes in order to get to my Great destination.

2. When time and circumstances permit, I must be willing to be vulnerable enough to allow trusted advisers to provide feedback on what I think is The Great Idea, so they can save me from going public (or to a client) with the occasional Really Not-So-Great Idea.

3. No matter how artfully or sensitively someone offers feedback, I must remain open to the possibility that I don't have a monopoly on creative genius. For more on this truth, see my Inside Edge PR piece on soliciting feedback. ("Do you seek it to glow or to grow?").

1 comment:

Beth Dornan said...

Matt, great post! One of the best brainstorming sessions I've been part of in a long time started with trying to generate the worst ideas you could think of -- the things you couldn't ever imagine your brand doing. From there, you could work your way back to ideas that were edgy without being absurd. It was a blast and a tactic I'll try next time I'm hosting a session.