A brainstorm is a great way to tap into your team’s broad body of knowledge and creativity. For the best ideas to emerge, consider brainstorming not only with your core team, but also with external partners and students. Brainstorms work best when the group is positive, optimistic, and focused on a single question.
- Suggested time: 20-30 mins
- Materials: Post-its, pens, whiteboard or large sheet of paper
- When to use: When your team feels stuck or needs inspiration
Share rules of effective brainstorming with your team:
- There are no dumb ideas
- Don’t criticize other people’s ideas
- Build on other people’s ideas
- Reverse the thought “quality over quantity”
Develop an open-ended question that begins with “How might we” to guide your explorations as a team. Keep the question narrow enough for a productive focus, but broad enough to give room for many new ideas. You can even have more than one question to brainstorm if you have time. Some examples of effective “How might we” questions are: “How might we amplify the student voice on campus?” or “How might we increase retention rates for transfer students?”
Pose the question or prompt to the group and ask people to jot down and (if they’re brave) draw their ideas. Encourage people to post ideas to the whiteboard or large sheet of paper and share them out loud so others can build on them.
Once you have a good number of ideas, cluster the ideas into categories, vote on your favorites, and prioritize the best ones to build out further.