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A boxful of brainstorming by Samira Amor

25 January 2019

A creative work meeting is something that needs thinking about and preparing for. So are the methods and tools, the structures and techniques. VO Event has merged all this into a box of smart components. Long live reinvented brainstorming!

Brainstorming is one of the 5 major subject areas that VO Event has focused on over the past year to reinvent its codes. An internal think tank has developed a method to control and structure this essential moment in the creative process and increase its efficiency. The objective - to generate better prepared, more productive brainstorming sessions, and to prevent improvised, unprepared and sometimes almost chaotic meetings. So, long live the toolbox! A real toolbox, with 5 compartments, each of which will contain a wealth of useful information, advice, tips and techniques related to each step of the brainstorming process, and with an expectation equivalent to that of our LAB for large projects.


Brainstorming is something you can prepare for...

No more improvising! You can prepare for a brainstorming session before the meeting itself. First of all, you can send a document to the participants, clearly explaining the client briefing and specifying the deliverables the project manager expects to have at the end of the brainstorming process: an overall concept? a participant experience? the choice of venue...?

For example, compartment 1 will contain a template that will make it easier to write this note of intent so as not to waste time explaining it at the beginning of the meeting. After the “what shall we talk about?”, you need to decide “who with?” Here again there is a change of approach. To build an effective and relevant panel, nothing beats targeted invitations rather than a call to all colleagues, which is impersonal and ineffective.

VO has conducted an internal survey of each staff member, asking them to describe their work skills, experience with events and interests outside of work - as well as their preferences on the time of day for the brainstorm. Therefore, depending on the subject, make sure that the appropriate profiles are present around the table.


Bringing it to life...

In the second and third compartments, techniques and structures are used to set the tone for the participants and energise the session. VO consulted experts in improvisation and animation who specified the best techniques for conducting an effective and creative brainstorming session, explained in the form of sheets. Structured breaks, for example, quickly put people in brainstorming mode, and encourage them to open up their minds and think differently. As well as techniques for supervising and usefully facilitating the collective generation of ideas. They start the brain thinking, expand it or ‘reboot’ it in the event of a deadlock or stalemate in the discussion.

... and it yields results!

Generating ideas is good, selecting the best ones is even better. Here again, there are techniques to help the initiator of the meeting leave with specific proposals ultimately selected by the participants themselves, or by a sub-group appointed by the panel to put forward one, two or maybe three specific proposals at the end of the brainstorming session, based on what was said. A win-win situation for the project manager who has an immediate supply of well-supported ideas that are in line with the deliverables defined by his client. Again, there is a template in the box for the subgroups in charge of these positioning proposals.

There are outstanding points that require brainstorming: the essential post-discussion feedback, a critical step for keeping everyone involved. Or keeping track of the brainstorming sessions and categorising the ideas that are generated. But that’s no problem - there is still a bit of space left in the compartments in our magic box.

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