Ideas exist in our minds; not in the real world, and as long as they stay in our minds they will have no effect at all. In order to make real change, in order to have a real impact and bring about genuine improvement, they need to be brought out into the light where they can be refined, improved and – crucially – acted upon. Brainstorming is the process of taking ideas from off of the drawing board and transforming them into actionable plans. These actionable plans have immense power to overcome problems, but the process of brainstorming in itself can also bring about genuine improvement to workplaces and individuals alike. Using the tool of brainstorming, we are all able to unlock the potential held in our minds and start making a difference.
The Power to Achieve Results
How do we overcome problems and achieve results? When we pool our resources, results happen. The wonderful thing about people is that every single person you meet will have a different way of thinking; a different viewpoint on your idea. When these people are brought together in the context of a brainstorming session, opinions can be shared and the opportunity for discussion and evaluation of ideas is created. In order for plans to get off the ground, they need to be workable. We need to shape ideas into action, and what better way to do this than through using a variety of viewpoints to cover all the possibilities. When we brainstorm, we are able to use others’ knowledge to refine and develop our own ideas and make them workable – this is where the power of brainstorming lies.
The Power to Create Community
What would an ideal workplace look like? Whether intentional or not, many growing modern companies find themselves functioning as a collection of isolated departments, supposedly united under a common vision but in reality more absorbed in their own tasks than any company-wide objectives. Do these companies even have common goals or values? Probably. Does anyone even know them? Unlikely. Within these companies, people work productively, but they work separately, and this doesn’t foster the sense of community which is needed for effective operation and growth.
This is where brainstorming has enormous potential. Work environments don’t offer natural opportunities for inter-departmental cohesion. Brainstorming sessions do. When brainstorming, different people come together to work together. They’re united around a common goal. In fact, as people begin to pool their ideas, discussion can take place. Ideas are evaluated, refined and improved. And, crucially, this is done by the group. Not by a manager; not by an individual.
When brainstorming, people are naturally interdependent, and this ‘group investment’ into problems and ideas can form the beginning of a community atmosphere within the workplace. This is exactly the type of atmosphere needed to promote further collaboration in the company, which ultimately leads to more streamlined growth. Rather than being awkward, difficult experiences, group projects now seem exciting and feasible, because that common goal has already been found; that community feel has already been instigated. Brainstorming has the power to carve a sense of community into companies, and it is this atmosphere which is absolutely vital for setting them up to realise their full potential.
The power to transform an individual
What motivates people? Is it money? Power? Research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that, once people are paid enough money, they generally have three innate desires – the desires for autonomy, mastery and purpose. When people are restricted to certain roles or tasks (as is the case in many traditional work environments), their ability to think and innovate is overlooked; a whole skill set is largely ignored. However, in a quality brainstorming session, people are brought together from a whole host of different backgrounds and an equal playing field is created. There are no glass ceilings, and everyone can have a say.
Giving people this opportunity tells them that they are worth listening to and that they are worth more than the task they carry out. What a wonderful opportunity for building confidence and making people feel valuable! When you bring together a group of people and conduct a fair, focussed brainstorming session, it gives individuals the power to personally invest in their company because it feels like their company is investing in them. Do you want your colleagues to be engaged? Then let them brainstorm. Let them discuss their ideas with a group of people united around a common goal, and watch the transformation brought about as they are able to find a sense of mastery and autonomy over their work and a purpose in what they do. Learn more about the value of MIT’s research, and its applications below:
As we’ve seen, brainstorming has power on three levels. The power of brainstorming is a power that can bring about solutions to problems and transformation to workplaces and individuals alike. Ideas get off the drawing board into the real world, and people come out of their shells as a new sense of purpose and autonomy is discovered. Can we really afford not to utilise this resource?