Brainstorming sessions, or whatever you might like to call them these days, are excellent for a couple of things. They do churn out lots of ideas, of which one or two might even be great, and they do throw light on areas of developmental need in our organizations. “Bouncing ideas off each other” is a very good way of generating jumping-off points and parallel thought corridors. I was with a few friends discussing what to do for a coming book launch when one of them said something like “One in a Million You” and we immediately hit upon the idea of doing something along the lines of “One in a Million isn’t unique at all!” More ideas came in and we had a great book launch with a few very engaging activities based on our “common uniqueness”, for people who came earlier. Now, there have been a few people who also declare that brainstorming is dead, that we should instead have “brainswarming” and the like, but I tend to view such seemingly prophetic declarations with great skepticism. The truth, like Malcolm, is often in the middle, and I do maintain that both brainstorming and brainswarming have their uses at different times, on different occasions and in different contexts. Most of the time, such sessions require one thing of all participants – total presence. Of course, you can always run into a brilliant gem of an idea from someone who is spiritually and mentally absent, but that is not normal. As the saying goes, “The race isn’t always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”
The second thing that brainstorming sessions or their equivalent are good for are highlighting areas needing development. As ideas take shape, it becomes clearer what competencies need to be grown in-house and what skill sets need to be hired or outsourced. Consciousness of what leadership qualities need further honing and calibration grows and deepens. The necessity for both in-house programs and external help becomes more and more obvious, and both need to be planned for right away.
How was your last brainstorming/ brainswarming session? Share with us what happened!