By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager

The following is a follow-up to Nov. 12 post about brainstorming

In our Nov. 12 post, we shared some tips on conducting a productive brainstorming session. Today, we talk post-brainstorming…how to move forward after the session. I’m guessing you have on at least on occasion left a really good brainstorming session and said to yourself, “Wow, we came up with some really great ideas in there. I’m excited!” But then the next day comes, you look at all of the notes from the meeting and you begin to feel overwhelmed and lost.

Yes, that may happen to all of us at times. But that’s the perfect time to re-focus, re-harness that energy and get to work on making sense of the ideas shared. Here are some steps to get you started on the post-brainstorming work that follows.

  • Since the rule of brainstorming was to capture all ideas shared, collect all of the ideas from the brainstorming session and cull them. Determine which are duplicates and which are pie-in-the-sky and eliminate these from the mix. BUT, don’t dismiss ideas too quickly. Before you write-off an idea as “unrealistic,” make sure you consider the difference between “we’ve never done it that way” vs. “we don’t have the resources for that” vs. “that’s a new idea we should try.”
  • Once you have a list of which are realistic, achievable ideas, decide which ideas will get you to the desired Point B. Keep your eye on the goals. Which of the great ideas brought out during brainstorming are on target with your/your client’s goals? Take one more step with the ideas, put them through a SWOT analysis…a very familiar term to most of us, but to refresh, SWOT = strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and t
  • Establish a plan…Once you have a sense of direction, now’s the time to wordsmith the goals and action steps. Communicate the goals and tactics in a way that convey fully the intent, processes and expected outcomes.
  • Allocate resources to achieve these goals…critically analyze what is needed to accomplish the goals and allocate time, money and talent to each. Bring in the appropriate team members and make them a part of this process. Ask questions and seek input.
  • Finally, prioritize the goals and action steps…Determine which of the goals need to be reached immediately and which can be completed later. Establish a timeline to help guide your progress and keep everyone on track.

As mentioned in the brainstorming post, invite the brainstorming participants to join in the process of formulating the goals, not just in implementing them. If this is not feasible, communicate with them the final work product and the steps in getting to that point. Getting their buy-in will be beneficial to your efforts and open you to new ideas along the way.