Running a brainstorming or problem-solving session

October 21, 2018


Excerpt from 'How to Wrestle an Octopus: an agency account manager's guide to pretty much everything'. Available now!
 

Just as ‘many hands make light work’, many brains can make for quicker and more robust solutions than what we could usually do on our own.

There will certainly be times when you can come up with great ideas - or solve issues - by yourself; for other times, when you know you need group assistance, here are some ways to ensure you get the best out of your brainstorming sessions.

  • Choose your one goal and deliverable. For a fast, efficient brainstorming session you should have one goal only, and it should be crystal clear and easy to articulate to the group. You should also convey what the deliverable will be that you expect the group to present at the end.
  • Pick your team. It’s important that you keep numbers to a minimum, and that everyone who is part of the brainstorm will contribute to the meeting and be willing to change their opinions during the process.
  • Covering costs. Be aware that when you ask for your colleagues’ assistance, you are pulling them away from their chargeable work. Try to ensure that your brainstorming time is covered in what you are on-charging to your client (another good reason to keep numbers to a minimum).
  • Allow enough, but not too much time. Brainstorming and problem-solving require creativity. Whilst a certain amount of time pressure can be beneficial to keep the creative thought process on-track, you want to allow enough time to explore all options and end up with a well-considered solution.
  • Tools of the trade. Ensure that you have the right equipment available to capture all the thoughts (e.g. whiteboard and pens, large sheets of paper and markers, pads and pens, sticky notes, etc.).
  • Bribery works wonders. If your meeting is going to last more than one hour, consider providing nibbles and drink (or copious quantities of chocolate). Keeping your team fed and watered goes a long way toward keeping them happy, engaged, and productive. 
  • Brief thoroughly. Brainstorming works better if you can give your team a heads-up on the purpose of the meeting before commencing (including any back-story, examples, and data). Depending on the topic (especially if it is a problem-solving meeting) you may choose not to give too much away until you start, so you’ll need to use your judgement. Once the meeting commences, ensure you brief the team well and reinforce the one goal and the deliverable(s). Convey all the salient points that they need to know, and leave out everything that is irrelevant to your purpose.
  • Avoid rabbit trails. It’s easy for brainstorming sessions to go off on ‘rabbit trails’ of thought and excitement, jokes and random thoughts. Whilst you don’t want to inhibit anyone’s creativity, it’s very important to keep this meeting on-target and heading in the right direction.
  • Ta da! By the end of the meeting, you should have reached your goal, and have a deliverable that you can use for the next step. Thank your team profusely for their time, input and greatness.

 

     

     





    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.


    Also in Latest Tips & Tricks

    Account Planning Strategy – what's it all about?

    June 12, 2019

    If you want to work strategically with your accounts, then learning to create and utilise an Account Planning Strategy (APS) is the best place to start. Here's how to do it.

    View full article →

    Problem-solving: Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

    May 27, 2019

    AgencyLand is a massive machine made up of moving parts, complexities, and challenges. Think about all the different types of things that could go wrong in a typical agency day (you won’t have to think too hard!). As an account manager, one of the many hats that you wear is ‘Chief Problem Solver’. Given that you will need to solve a great many problems during your career, a useful technique to master is Root Cause Analysis (RCA).

    View full article →

    Talent and location release forms

    April 28, 2019

    A ‘release form’ is a legal document which, when signed, gives your client or your agency the right to use the still photo, audio, or video footage of the person who signed the form. This is one form which every agency account manager, or marketer, who attends photographic or video shoots must carry multiple paper copies of. The easy-to-remember rule is that if you are shooting someone for commercial purposes, get a signed release.

    View full article →

    Our gift to you!

    SIGN UP TO THE AM-INSIGHT NEWSLETTER, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE 100% OFF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF ANY ONE MICROSOFT WORD OR EXCEL RESOURCE FROM THE AM-INSIDER WEBSITE. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW!