I hate to admit it, but yes… I am old enough to remember watching Mr. Dressup as a kid!
One of the things I loved most about the show was the ‘Tickle Trunk’ – a magical box filled with seemingly random fun objects. The best part was that every time you opened the Tickle Trunk, the contents were different!
When I teach people how to effectively facilitate a brainstorming session, I always recommend that they create a brainstorming Tickle Trunk filled with everything you might need for an incredibly fruitful session.
Just like Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk, the contents should change regularly to always maintain the surprise and delight factor. Check out this complete list of suggested items for your brainstorming Tickle Trunk.
In addition to the contents of the brainstorming Tickle Trunk, there are four key essentials for success in brainstorming:
Invite fresh faces
Always invite new people to the session, especially if they know nothing about the topic.
Often the best and most original ideas come from people who can see the task from an unencumbered perspective.
Incorporate physical movement
This is hugely underestimated by most facilitators. It‘s crucial that you get people ‘into action.’
Let your brainstormers search for something, do something, but get them out of their chairs. Physical movement ensures better blood flow to all parts of the body, most importantly the brain!
Write it down
Bring and use lots of paper!
Dry erase boards get recycled and ideas can be lost if you use them. Make sure someone is writing down all of the ideas with different coloured markers on big sheets of paper on an easel that is easy for everyone in the room to see. This provides the group with visual stimulation for new ideas as well as a record of all of the ideas!
Divide and conquer in teams
Whenever possible, invite enough people to the brainstorming session so that you can create at least two teams (teams of 4-5 people are ideal). This will increase your creative output while ensuring that everyone is actively participating in the session.
Plus, a little healthy competition never hurt, either!