According to the Harvard Business Review*, the more creative an ad campaign, the bigger the impact in getting people to buy products. Seems pretty obvious, right? But, the question is how to find that higher level of creative ideation?
One simple and fun way to make creative development more fruitful is through brainstorming sessions. The magic that is born in brainstorming sessions can generate unique, genuine and crazy ideas that can lead to a more impactful execution or campaign.
Below are 8 brainstorming techniques that can lead to real breakthrough thinking:
Unstructured brainstorming: Also know as free-brainstorming, this approach allows everybody in the brainstorming session to freely share their ideas and participants build up on the ideas generated. It’s an idea free-for-all.
Structured brainstorming: Also known as round robin brainstorming, this technique allows every participant to mention the idea he or she has. If someone doesn’t have any idea, he or she can say “pass”. The session ends when there’s a complete round in which everyone says “pass”.
Mind mapping: This approach is based on connecting information to a central key idea. Through natural associations, it links concepts together and it helps participants by letting them come up with further ideas and find deeper meanings in the key concept. It helps organize participant’s thoughts.
Pencil and paper brainstorming: When this technique is used, everyone who participates in the brainstorming session writes down their personal ideas and after a while, people share their ideas.
Nominal group technique: All the members who participate in the brainstorming session write down their ideas in silence. After a set period of time, people share their ideas and that is followed by a group discussion about the ideas. Then, the ideas are ranked or prioritized.
Starbursting brainstorming: This approach is based on generating questions instead of answers, and encourages participants to go deep in the questions that arise in the session. This helps create a solid vision of the idea or concept. These are the questions that should always be pursued: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?
Charette procedure: This brainstorming method is used when the number of attendees is high. Participants are divided in groups and each group has a topic. Then, each group of people think about ideas related to their topic. After a while, there’s a rotation of topics, which continues until every group has had a chance to come up with ideas for every topic. At the end, all the ideas are analyzed, organized and prioritized.
Reverse brainstorming: In reverse brainstorming, instead of coming up with ideas to solve a problem, people ask questions that create problems. Using this method, new perspectives are brought to the actual problem.
Brainstorming can be an effective way to help people think outside the box without taking into account whether the ideas are good or bad. After all, the idea that might seem bad at the beginning can be turned into a great campaign because it’s the craziest, most unique or most genuine.
Creative development is —or should be— a collaborative process. Rarely are breakthrough campaigns the result of one person’s brilliance or group spitballing. It’s hard work, a mix of inspiration and perspiration, and rarely linear. These techniques can be a way to guide the process, not inhibit the creativity.
* Harvard Business Review, Creativity in Advertising: When It Works and When It Doesn’t, Month, 2013