Brainstorming sessions can boost creativity. But too often, folks think it's a free-form process. The best free-thinking actually comes from having a plan. Follow these rules, and let the juices flow:

  • Before you start, make sure you define the problem or issue you're going to discuss.
  • During the session, make sure someone writes down all ideas as they surface.
  • Once you get started, everyone must suspend judgment. Reserve criticism for after the session.
  • Encourage people to build on the ideas of others. Remember, few ideas have a single author.
  • The idea is to push the envelope-invite unconventional thinking. In fact, often the wilder the idea, the better.

And don't sweat the details. During brainstorming, quantity is more important than quality.