BrainStorm Bill of Rights

Not nearly as great as the actual Bill of Rights, the Brainstorm Bill of Rights doesn’t guarantee you the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It does, however, guarantee that the brainstorm facilitator and the brainstorm participants know what they’re getting themselves into. It outlines what you, as the facilitator, can expect from the participants. And more importantly, what the participants can expect from you.

Brainstorm Participants Should Expect…

ONE CLEARLY DEFINED GOAL PER BRAINSTORM – What is the brainstorm trying to accomplish? Keep it simple. For tips on how to do this, check out the Prep Checklist.

A FINISH LINE – What does success look like? You need to give them something to aim for, so that it’s clear when the group has completed the task of brainstorming. Typically, this takes the form of an idea quota or a time limit. Set realistic goals and realize you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns, so be respectful of the participants time and effort.

A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES SHARING – The point of a brainstorm is to generate the most ideas possible, so all ideas are welcome. Capture every idea people share. It isn’t necessary to capture every word they say, but get enough to remind you of their idea.

A STRONG FACILITATOR – A brainstorm session is only as good as the facilitator leading the group. Set an example. Keep the group on task. Be a coach and advocate for participants who are having trouble explaining an idea. Referee when someone starts judging other ideas. Keep the enthusiasm up if the energy starts to lag. If it doesn’t sound like a task you’re up for, find someone else who is. You owe it to the brainstorm.

CLEARLY DEFINED NEXT STEPS – Nobody likes to leave a brainstorm without a clear picture of what’s going to happen next. Let them know what your plan is and how you’re going to develop the ideas they shared.

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Brainstorm Participants Should Expect…

ONE CLEARLY DEFINED GOAL PER BRAINSTORM – What is the brainstorm trying to accomplish? Keep it simple. For tips on how to do this, check out the Prep Checklist.

A FINISH LINE – What does success look like? You need to give them something to aim for, so that it’s clear when the group has completed the task of brainstorming. Typically, this takes the form of an idea quota or a time limit. Set realistic goals and realize you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns, so be respectful of the participants time and effort.

A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES SHARING – The point of a brainstorm is to generate the most ideas possible, so all ideas are welcome. Capture every idea people share. It isn’t necessary to capture every word they say, but get enough to remind you of their idea.

A STRONG FACILITATOR – A brainstorm session is only as good as the facilitator leading the group. Set an example. Keep the group on task. Be a coach and advocate for participants who are having trouble explaining an idea. Referee when someone starts judging other ideas. Keep the enthusiasm up if the energy starts to lag. If it doesn’t sound like a task you’re up for, find someone else who is. You owe it to the brainstorm.

CLEARLY DEFINED NEXT STEPS – Nobody likes to leave a brainstorm without a clear picture of what’s going to happen next. Let them know what your plan is and how you’re going to develop the ideas they shared.

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