Brainstorming: As Messy As It’s Necessary

When’s the last time you allowed yourself to forge ahead with an unedited, uncensored, uninhibited train of thought for at least a few minutes–and you took notes while doing it?

In other words, when’s the last time you brainstormed?

Brainstorming is vital to the creative process, whether it’s dreaming up a headline, the name of your next child, or planning a 50th wedding anniversary party. Here are guiding principles I follow in my brainstorming pursuits:

1. The path to The Great Idea is littered with terrible, hokey, cliched, painfully bad ideas. I must be willing to go through those potholes in order to get to my Great destination.

2. When time and circumstances permit, I must be willing to be vulnerable enough to allow trusted advisers to provide feedback on what I think is The Great Idea, so they can save me from going public (or to a client) with the occasional Really Not-So-Great Idea.

3. No matter how artfully or sensitively someone offers feedback, I must remain open to the possibility that I don’t have a monopoly on creative genius. For more on this truth, see my Inside Edge PR piece on soliciting feedback. (“Do you seek it to glow or to grow?”).

One thought on “Brainstorming: As Messy As It’s Necessary

  1. Matt, great post! One of the best brainstorming sessions I’ve been part of in a long time started with trying to generate the worst ideas you could think of — the things you couldn’t ever imagine your brand doing. From there, you could work your way back to ideas that were edgy without being absurd. It was a blast and a tactic I’ll try next time I’m hosting a session.

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