Whether you’re working on a group assignment for school or you’re grinding out a project at work, holding a nice brainstorming session can help increase productivity, boost morale, and make good ideas even better. Since September 10th is National Swap Ideas Day, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about the benefits of brainstorming and sharing ideas with others. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Even if you consider yourself to be an intellectual juggernaut, there’s no denying the old adage that two heads are better than one. If you’ve been too close to a subject for too long, it can be difficult to see new angles of approach. Sometimes an outside perspective can help us to think about problems and solutions differently, especially if we’re suffering fatigue from doing the same things over and over.
Try asking people around you for their thoughts on the subject at hand. You might be surprised to learn that they’ve got entirely different ideas and perspectives, and that’s a good thing. Even if you ask ten people and get ten wildly different ideas of varying quality, it can go a long way to fuel the process of idea development. In other words, you’re better off accepting that any idea can be helpful to the project, rather than quickly writing off ideas that you consider to be of little use.
Remember how we were saying that all ideas can be useful? Well, here’s how. When you’re working with a group of people with varying perspectives, then it stands to reason that a wide variety of ideas and suggestions will have an impact on each individual's thought process. Think of it as a chain reaction-when someone hears a certain idea, or even a phrase or word, it can spark an entirely new idea, and this chain reaction can take place many times over. This is how a group can develop new ideas or add to existing ones.
It is important to accept all input within reason. Obviously, if you are working on a project about the environment and a team member suggests that littering can be beneficial, it would be best to put that idea in the “no” pile. But, if everyone is taking the subject seriously, it is only beneficial to the group as a whole to hear out any and all ideas as they work towards a solution. When everyone feels that their ideas are welcome in a group setting, it will boost morale and build up a nice sense of camaraderie, which makes the whole process much easier and more enjoyable.
As you develop ideas with your group, record them so nothing gets lost or forgotten about. Whiteboards are great for brainstorming sessions, as are good old-fashioned notebooks and steno pads (ever heard of one of those?). Even when the project is finished, you might want to look back on your notes in the future-maybe an old, unused idea will work perfectly for a new project!
Let’s face it: work can sometimes be monotonous. You go to the same place every day, perform similar tasks every day, and maybe you even have the same thing for lunch every day. Scheduling a brainstorming session with your team can mix things up and breathe a little life into the work day. In the event your boss hasn’t already encouraged the idea of brainstorming, try asking to use a conference room or unused office. It will probably go over very well, and you’ll come out looking like a proactive go-getter.
For students, try making some study partners in the event you’re not working on a group project. You can meet anywhere you’d like, such as the library or a coffee shop. This will make studying feel like less of a chore and might even make it-dare I say it-fun! The bottom line is teamwork builds lasting bonds that will continue even after the project is completed. It’s always great to have some allies at work or at school that you can go to if you need help with something.
National Swap Ideas Day
Now that we’ve learned about the benefits of teamwork and brainstorming, it’s time to put it into practice. If you haven’t found yourself working with others very often, or at all, today is a great time to start. Whether you start a brainstorming session at work, meet with some fellow students to study, or just get together with some friends and have a thoughtful conversation, you’ll quickly see the benefits of working together in a group.
Perhaps most importantly, listening to the ideas of others can help us to grow as people. We can read all the books and study all the subjects in the world, but without conversation and the exchange of ideas, progress can never take place. So, for today and for every other day, never pass up the opportunity to share your ideas, or to listen to somebody else’s-you never know what you’ll learn.