Brainstorm Technique #4 – Bridge Building

Brainstorm Technique: Bridge Building
You’ve identified where you are. You’ve identified where you want to be. But you need to figure out how to get from here to there. This brainstorm technique is designed to help you build a bridge from where you are to where you want to go. Whether you accomplish the task with one big idea or develop several smaller ideas that combine to cross the span, you’ll finish your brainstorm session with a variety of methods that will accomplish your goal.

Ideal Activity For:
mid and long-range planning, rebranding, product or business relaunches

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 packs of oversized sticky notes (3”x5” or larger)
permanent markers

# of Participants:
1 – 10+

How To Brainstorm With Bridge Building:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a conference room (if needed)

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 30-45 minutes)

  1. Begin by identifying the starting and ending point of your bridge and recording them on two separate sticky notes.
  2. Place the sticky notes a distance apart on the wall and invite the brainstorm participants to begin building a bridge between the starting point and ending point.
  3. As participants call out ideas, record each idea on its own sticky note.
  4. If the brainstorm group begins to lose momentum, ask questions to lead the group’s effort, such as:
    • This idea is a good start, how can we build on it to get us closer to our goal?
    • Rather than starting at the beginning, how can we build backwards from the ending point?
    • What’s something you always thought the company should do that might accomplish our goal here today?

 Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 10-15 minutes)

  1. Begin Part 2 by inviting the group to group together sticky notes that feature similar tactics or are dependant upon each other to accomplish the end goal of the brainstorm. Invite brainstorm participants to take an active role in the discussion of which notes belong together, you might even invite them to move notes around the wall together.
  2. Now that the notes are grouped together tactically, it’s time to sort them again using another criteria. In this second phase of Part 2, sort the ideas based on timeline. Group together ideas that are actionable now, in the next year and beyond one year. [NOTE: If ideas work together to accomplish the goal of your brainstorm, it is important to keep them grouped together in this phase. For example, if one idea in the set can’t be accomplished in the next year move the whole set of notes to that category.]

 Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the sticky note groupings for reference at a later date.

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One Response to Brainstorm Technique #4 – Bridge Building

  • Mexico says:

    Great post, It is interesting to flolow the creative process there. I often find myself producing much better layouts and designs when I take 5-10 minutes and sketch out an idea vs. sitting at photoshop and messing around for an hour. It is so much more effective to step away from the computer and think about the outcome I am seeking to create.I often tell others I am working with to sketch out their ideas of what they want me to create for them, it really saves a lot of time and we end up communicating more effectively as well.