Workplace Wins with Brainstorming and Planning

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Brainstorming is a process of generating new ideas and sharing knowledge. During a brainstorming session, participants are encouraged to think freely without interruption. Brainstorming is a group activity and is often the precursor to planning. Brainstorming and planning go hand-in-hand.

The phrase, “There are no bad ideas” is a key feature of brainstorming techniques. Once the session is completed, all the ideas should be compiled and organized.

It’s a good idea to define the topic before a brainstorming session because an ill-defined topic will not generate enough directly applicable concepts. Therefore, it’s important to focus on a well-defined topic that has value and merit.

The process of thinking about the activities required to achieve the desired objective is called planning. Planning is based on forethought and includes tracking employees’ tasks and hours. TimeTrack makes this process seamless with timesheets.

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TimeTrack: Timesheet and a terminal clock

Planning means defining targets and objectives for the organization.

Characteristics of planning


  1. Planning is a key function in an organization and all other applicable steps follow, including organizing, staffing, directing and management.
  2. It’s necessary to define the goal and focus on achieving the defined goals and all the steps it will take to get there.
  3. Think about forecasting. This means that current plans must align with future events. This helps management in getting the future picture of the goal, eventually making it easier for the company to achieve its objectives.
  4. Planning is a continuous process. When one plan is executed and implemented, other plans are formulated. It’s a never-ending process and takes into account current and potential future circumstances. It’s vital for every plan to be flexible and adaptable.
  5. Creating a plan is an intellectual process and calls for applied thinking and creativity. It can be tough mental work as you’ll need to use foresight and sound judgement. The manager has to think about all aspects and even unforeseen circumstances before formulating a plan.
  6. The plan should be actionable, realistic and practical. It’s okay to have big dreams and pie-in-the-sky goals but your plans must be realistic. Only actionable plans can ensure the success of the project.

Keen to start your planning process? Try it for free with TimeTrack.

The power of brainstorming and planning


Brainstorming techniques and planning methods have been widely used for decades to help spark new ideas and innovative approaches to old problems. For business professionals, brainstorming and subsequent planning are often the key indicators of a successful organization.

Think of brainstorming as generating creative ideas and dynamic initiatives to set your business ahead of others.

The 4 principles of brainstorming and planning

Quantity over quality

The first rule of brainstorming is to define as many ideas as possible. Go crazy with the ideas, any idea is a good idea. The presence of many ideas will help find the right one. Many experts believe that quantity precedes quality in brainstorming. The more ideas the better.

Combine, refine and improve

The next step is to take all the ideas and combine, refine and improve them. Build on the ideas to improve the overall concept.

Encourage crazy ideas

Give the team free rein to think out-of-the-box. No idea is discounted. In fact, crazy ideas are encouraged.

Withhold criticism

A brainstorming session is about free thinking so withhold criticism. Being open to any idea will also ensure the team aren’t afraid to speak up.

Brainstorming techniques


Nominal group technique

Every participant writes their idea. Everyone then votes on or ranks the best ideas. Almost like a competition. The nominal group technique helps managers gauge each team member’s opinion and gives a voice to all ideas.

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All ideas are good ideas during brainstorming

Mapping method

Mind mapping is a creative and visual tool for enhancing the brainstorming process. In essence, you’re drawing a picture of the relationships among and between ideas. Mind mapping quickly arranges all ideas into logical groupings.

Reverse brainstorming

This is a creative problem-solving technique in which the problem is turned around and considered from a different point of view. In reverse brainstorming, participants concentrate on the problems rather than the solutions. In turn, generating problems may help spark the correct solutions.

Starbursting

Create a six-pointed star. At the star’s center, write the challenge or opportunity you’re facing. At each star point, write the following words: who, what, where, when, why and how.

Free writing

The participant expresses their thoughts by writing freely. Free writing allows everyone to express themselves completely. Free writing plays a pivotal role in generating new ideas.

Rapid ideation

In rapid ideation, the manager sets aside time for compiling ideas. Write down and compile the ideas rapidly in the prescribed time. This technique is similar to mind mapping.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis looks at an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The SWOT analysis is very important for a successful brainstorming session.

Free storming

In free storming, the participants write whatever comes to their mind. It is a very important part of the brainstorming session and can help spark many different ideas and concepts.

Benefits of brainstorming and planning


Business and work-related project ideas need to be diverse. Brainstorming sessions provide exactly that deliverable. Team brainstorming sessions tend to be even more effective as various work angles come to light and reduce the possibility of error or miscalculation. Brainstorming leads to planning, which is the essence of any successful project.

Brainstorming helps highlight possible risks and intricate details and proposes different plans to deal with potential problems.

Other benefits:

  • The presence of team members from different areas ensures diverse perspectives and fresh new ideas.
  • Brainstorming gives the team a break from their conventional routine and a chance to work in harmony to find creative ideas and solutions.
  • The participation of all team members ensures unbiased perspectives from people across the company.
  • Brainstorming promotes teamwork and enhances collaboration, which is conducive to a professional working environment. Teamwork is an essential component of a successful project. Brainstorming enhances the existing mechanisms of teamwork as it is a collaborative activity.

Tips for better brainstorming sessions


  1. Define the goal before a brainstorming session by sending out an agenda a day or two before in order to ensure participants have time to prep and research. Remember, a well-defined goal sets the tone for the success or failure of a project. The goals should be concise and clear.
  2. Be clear about the problem or topic. This will ensure that the session stays on track and there’s a clear outcome.
  3. Select an appropriate facilitator who is experienced at organizing group brainstorming sessions. An appropriate facilitator will enhance the brainstorming session and keep the momentum going.
  4. Invite the right candidates with the correct know-how of the project; you want the right people in the session so the ideas are easily translated and applied.

Time tracking and brainstorming

Time tracking allows your employees to record their brainstorming time. This, in turn, helps managers oversee everyone’s time management skills and pinpoint problem areas.

Efficient time management is vital for the smooth functioning of the day-to-day business of the organization. And TimeTrack ensures that all functions are performed in an organized and timely manner.

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Planning – Appointment Scheduler

Takeaway


Brainstorming and planning are integral parts of every project. The success of the project depends on the quality of brainstorming and the feasibility of planning. Only well-planned projects can reach the heights of success.

Group brainstorming removes biases, promotes teamwork and incorporates diverse perspectives into the project. Sound planning and effective brainstorming are essential planning and achieving goals.

 

Use TimeTrack software to harness the power of brainstorming and planning techniques amongst your team. Try it for free.