How to get ideas without brainstorming

In my experience, most brainstorming is worse than a waste of time. Most brainstorming sessions are idea slaughter, not idea generation. I’ve also been in a few brainstorming sessions that were awe-inspiring sources of new thinking and ideas.

But far more brainstorming has been idea slaughter than the good kind.

Here’s why, according to The myth of the brainstorming session: The best ideas don’t always come from meetings at The Next Web:


  1. Fear of judgment from people in positions of power
  2. Extroverts take center stage
  3. Groups hate scary ideas

I’ve found that a far better way of developing ideas is to give them room to “incubate.” Let new ideas sit. Don’t rush to execution. Your best thinking comes when you’re not thinking. When you have an idea, then put it away for a while, you’ll be far more likely to have those flashes of insight that make your ideas better. Or make it clear to you that you’re going nowhere and need to change your thinking.

Tell others about your ideas, and let them incubate in their brains too.

Here are some other ways I’ve found of developing ideas:


  • Do something you don’t regularly do.
  • Drink beer.
  • Walk.
  • Listen to music.
  • Sleep.

Those things shake loose your best thinking.

Being in a hurry doesn’t. Nor sitting around a table with impatient people who don’t want to be there.


Comments

2 responses to “How to get ideas without brainstorming”

  1. Jann Schultz Avatar
    Jann Schultz

    My recommendations: a glass of wine, a flip chart and colorful markers.

  2. Jann Schultz Avatar
    Jann Schultz

    My recommendations: a glass of wine, a flip chart and colorful markers.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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