Danielle Metzinger recommends four types of questions to use when brainstorming.
While I agree with Danielle that all four types of questions – observational, reflective, interpretive and decisional – are both amazing and necessary, I disagree completely with using them during a brainstorming session.
The best place for these types of questions is actually after the brainstorming session once all ideas have been gathered together and put into a report. At that point, a smaller senior strategic group should be assembled to review all of the ideas and select the ones that should move forward.
The idea selection process, or filter session as we like to call it, is the ideal time to use these four types of questions.
Let’s say we’ve brainstormed a robust list of big launch ideas for a new flavour of soup for Campbell’s.
After reviewing the report with all of the ideas from the brainstorming session, here’s how the four types of questions might benefit the idea selection process discussion:
What are the deliverables we must achieve in order for this product launch to be considered a success?
What strikes you about these ideas?
What surprises you about these launch ideas?
Do these ideas remind you of anything?
What more do we need to know or further explore before we move forward with any of these ideas?
What would a launch like this mean for us?
Who will do what by when?
What do we need to start, stop, or continue doing in order to make these ideas work?
Ask these questions at the right time for better brainstorming success
Asking these types of questions at the right time is critical. If you ask them during the brainstorming session, it will completely disrupt the free flow of ideas and drive everyone into an executional headspace.
If you don’t ask them during the idea selection process/filter session, then you may find out later that not enough time was spent exploring the ideas and ensuring they are both feasible and profitable.
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