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10 Brainstorming Tips for Diverse Teams

Every company executive knows the benefits of team diversity when it comes to realizing overarching business goals. For instance, top-quartile companies embracing gender diversity are likely to realize 15% more financial returns than their national industry medians. Moreover, racial diversity correlates with better financial performance in the US. Companies that implement a 10% ethnic and racial diversity on executive teams realize a 0.8% increment in earnings before interest and taxes. 

One of the most effective ways of building cohesive, diverse teams is through brainstorming. Besides promoting creativity, brainstorming also ensures that all team members are on the same page. Here are ten brainstorming tips to get you started with your diverse teams.

Mind Mapping

Some people think better with visual illustrations. Writing one idea on a glass whiteboard can spark better ideas from the team members. The sub-ideas usually connect to the main written idea with
in-depth elaborations. In most cases, you’ll find that sub-ideas add more relevance to what you’re discussing, especially if some members need more context to fully understand a topic.
The mind mapping strategy ensures that everyone reads from the same script until you reach a conclusion.

Change the Scenery

The environment has a lot to do with how people think and express themselves. For instance, an enriching environment, whether natural or artificial, influences mood. So you need your diverse team in the right mood so that they can raise brainstorming ideas without agitation.

Consider changing your brainstorming environment from time to time. When a team exhausts one location, the brainstorming session feels more repetitive and uninspiring. Today you can take them to a brainstorming session over lunch, and tomorrow have them on the lawn. The more you change the scenery, the more your team develops diverse ideas about the subject matter.

Online Brainstorming

In 2018, only 3.6 % of workers in the US juggled remote and in-office operations. Today, Global Workplace Analytics notes that more than 25-30% of the labor force embraces remote work culture multiple days a week. Moreover, notable companies such as PWC are recruiting up to 40,000 employees to work virtually from any location.

That said, not every organization has the luxury of in-person brainstorming. Alternatively, you can conduct real-time online brainstorming sessions on Slack or Google Teams. If that doesn’t work due to time-zone inconveniences, you can generate a shared Google doc where everyone fills in their ideas for later perusal.

people brainstorming in a business meeting

The Eidetic Brainstorming Technique

This strategy works more or less the same as mind mapping as it also leverages visual illustrations. You start by setting the intention for the session. Then, you can have the diverse team close their eyes and visualize an innovative product that you’re about to launch. When everyone sets the intention in their minds, they’ll visualize a more agile product compared to the original version.

After that, draw your first eidetic image on a custom glass whiteboard. This image represents the ideal product that the company intends to launch. Then, let every team member contribute ideas on how you can improve the aesthetics and functionality of this product.

Brainwriting

Brainwriting is a non-verbal brainstorming strategy. No one has to talk until you build on creative ideas among the team members. In this technique, diverse team members jot down up to three ideas related to the subject matter. After that, they pass the written ideas to the people sitting next to them, who add more bullet points.

The process goes on until all members contribute to every idea jotted earlier. After this, you jump into a discussion to determine which paper contains the most viable ideas or solutions to the project at hand.

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Figure Storming

Figure storming entails brainstorming ideas from someone else’s perspective. It could be a well-known industry figure or a senior-ranking official in the company. Then you set a question, “how would Mr. or Mrs. X approach this project?” Although it may seem a little silly, this strategy enables diverse team members to think outside the box and tackle problems differently. 

Remember, not everyone is candid or open about what they think. However, allowing the team to reference or attach a personality to the ideas won’t restrict their creative intuition. Instead, you’ll be surprised at the fantastic ideas that the team will bring forth.

Rapid Ideation

Rapid ideation is about time. You restrict your team members to jot down their ideas within a specific time frame before you discuss or flesh out any points. Interestingly, the human brain can develop pretty powerful ideas when under time pressure. 

Unlike other brainstorming techniques, this strategy encourages members to generate lots of ideas without trying to determine whether a specific idea will work. 

people tips for brainstorming

Round-Robin Brainstorming

A round-robin brainstorm strategy works with any team, provided the members have a high level of tolerance for each other. Everyone contributes an idea without interrupting or pointing out more ideas. This process goes on until the whole room contributes at least once.  

However, you can skip a team member and come back to them later if they couldn’t figure out something concrete in the first round. The idea is to let everyone have ample time to put their thoughts together before bringing them to the table.

Starbusting

A starbursting brainstorming technique is ideal if you want to build an excellent solution on an already discussed idea. The team comes up with a six-point star around the idea, encompassing what, when, where, who, and why. This technique is more intriguing to help team members tackle the idea from every possible angle. 

Step-Ladder Strategy

Every diverse team has the loudest or most vocal member who tends to influence every idea, whether original or borrowed. Some people may avoid making their own contributions, especially if this person’s idea looks more practical or fancy.

That’s where the step-ladder brainstorming technique saves the day. The pacesetter introduces a brainstorming topic and sends everyone out of the room, leaving only two people. The remaining people discuss the idea before the rest join them individually. They bring their native ideas while also engaging on what the two people had discussed earlier. However, this can be time-consuming for bigger teams. 

Leverage these brainstorming techniques to energize your diverse team today. This will help you accomplish projects effectively and within set deadlines. Most importantly, you’ll build a more cohesive team

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