This is a subscriber-only article.

For a limited time, join Entrepreneur+ and save 50% during our Cyber Monday sale. Use code SAVE50.

Join Now

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

What's the Secret to Better Brainstorming? Ah, the brainstorming session--who came up with the idea for that, anyway? The Esquire guy offers up some advice on how to cultivate better concepts.

By Ross McCammon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What's the Secret to Better Brainstorming?
Illustration© Chris Philpot

How do you lead a brainstorming meeting? First, forget about the box that, according to generally accepted brainstorming practices, you're supposed to be thinking outside of. The problem with the box is that no one knows how big it is. One person's box could be tiny, another person's box could be big. ("Let's go to another room. The box is too big.") Someone else's box could be so big that inside of the box is everything--including reason, judgment and sanity. ("Dear God, what a box.")

Anyway, the box is stifling. It turns a discussion into an exercise. ("Is this 'outside the box' enough?") And the box denies crucial truths about brainstorming: that there is a goal, and that because of time and money there are always limitations on discussion, even from the very beginning. The box is silly.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business Ideas

This Teacher Sells Digital Downloads for $10. Her Side Hustle Now Makes Six Figures a Month: 'It Seems Too Good to Be True, But It's Not.'

When one middle school teacher needed to make some extra income, she started a remote side hustle with no physical products and incredibly low overhead. Now she brings in six figures each month, and offers courses teaching others how to do the same.


Great Leaders Must Be Great Coaches — Here's How to Become One

To be a successful leader, you must become an expert in how to help others grow and develop. Here's a research-driven approach for entrepreneurial leaders to coach and effectively develop their teams.


'I Haven't Ticked All the Boxes Yet.' Hilary Duff Reveals Her Next Venture After More Than 2 Decades in the Spotlight — and the Surprisingly Relatable Key to Her Enduring Success

The actor talks entrepreneurship, secrets to success and her latest role as chief brand director for Below 60°, a product line of air fragrances.

Money & Finance

5 Financial Moves to Make While Interest Rates Are High

Here's what you should do and what you should avoid while interest rates are high.


How to Win Over the Room With Effective Persuasion Skills

The art of persuasion is not just about the notes, the data, and the pitch; it's about creating a connection that resonates with the audience. We explore how a blend of story, active listening, and genuine interaction can not only capture attention but also win hearts and minds, setting the stage for achieving success in any meeting.