How can brainstorming help your business?

In the last article, we talked about ways to generate ideas for your business and we mentioned brainstorming as one powerful method. This time we would like to better analyse the multiple benefits of brainstorming.

We start with a simple question: what is brainstorming? There are multiple definitions, but we particularly like this one: “Brainstorming is an idea generation technique to find a solution for a particular problem by generating multiple solutions”. This method (or better, umbrella of methods) can help answer many different questions. As such, it is useful both for people, who are looking for new business ideas, and for those, who already have their own business, but are struggling with a particular challenge. Brainstorming can be both an individual or group experience. Here, we focus on group brainstorming, because we think that, if structured properly, it can bring better outcomes compared to individual brainstorming.

If you are looking for an idea or a solution to a specific problem, you may question why you should join a brainstorming session with strangers, instead of simply asking your friends and relatives for feedback. Here are the most important reasons:

  1. Brainstorming boosts creativity…

Brainstorming sessions are built in a way that is specifically meant to generate creative ideas. For example, if your problem is to find a name for your business, the brainstorming facilitator may instruct the group to carry out multiple “exercises”. These exercises have the following two ultimate objectives:

  1. Generate as many ideas as possible, including crazy ones (crazy names are often the most successful.. think about Apple or Google);
  2. Filter the initial group and work with the remaining ideas (e.g. look for synonyms, combine words, etc.) to select the most promising names, among which you will choose the “winner”.

This process is likely to generate better name ideas than by asking your best friend, what he/she thinks a good name for your business could be.

  1. … and creativity helps your business

Although a business does not need to be creative to be successful (a good business is one that addresses a need), creativity surely helps standing out from the crowd. Think about a fast food. You can either open a standard fast food, or be creative and combine the need of a quick meal with something else that is appealing to the public (e.g. only use biological ingredients, or vegan, or typical products from a region, etc.). In so doing, you will attract not only those people, who need to eat something in 10 minutes, but also those, who like to eat in a certain way. I am thinking of a fast food I tried at the Neaples airport, which only served “mozzarella di bufala”, in three different varieties and presented in twenty different ways. It was constantly full of tourists, who were about to leave Neaples and wanted to eat “mozzarella di bufala” one last time before flying back to their own countries. This is an example where a typical brainstorming exercise (“combination”) can help you come up with a winning business idea by combining two different target groups.

  1. Crowd – thinking is more objective and surprising

People who are close to you (partner, parents, and friends) are likely to have a big influence on your business-related decisions. This has dubious benefits for at least two reasons: a. Their judgment may be biased (e.g. since they love you, they may discourage you from taking any risks); b. They are unlikely to surprise you with astonishing ideas, because you are used to their way of thinking (said in other words, they belong to your “comfort zone”). On the contrary, asking very diverse people, including “strangers”, to propose solutions for your business is likely to produce answers that are more objective and to generate ideas that you and your beloved may have never thought about.

  1. “Brainstorming” allows you getting to know other people much better than “networking”   

If you are looking for a business partner, or someone who can support your business in any ways, finding the right person can be challenging. Business networking events can help, but casual chatting does not generally allow going beyond people’s surface and understand whether they would really get along well with you. Brainstorming will unveil people’s way of thinking and, more often than not, their true personality. If a person appeals to you and is able to help you a lot with his/her ideas during a brainstorming session, he/she is likely to be the right person to work with in the future.

  1. Advantages of sharing your business ideas with others outweigh risks

Some people may fear that, after a brainstorming session, others will “steal” their business concept. That is a real risk, but ideas theft is not that likely, unless you are unlucky enough to share your ideas with some business predator, who has very little capacity to conceive something good on his/her own. Most people prefer implementing their own ideas, rather than stealing someone else’s. The reason is that a business can only be fun when it has to do with your passions and skills. Nevertheless, if ideas theft is a big worry, you can decide to keep the most important features of your business for yourself and only unveil those few aspects that people need to know in order to help you.

 

We have seen how powerful brainstorming can be. Of course, it cannot solve all problems that you may have with your business. Some questions may require expert judgment. This is why, when you have a well-defined business idea, combining brainstorming with an experienced consultant (e.g. a professional sparring partner) can really bring your business to fly.

 

Are you a woman and would you like to join a brainstorming session in Switzerland and meet a professional business consultant? Check Our Swiss Business planned events.

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