“Two heads think better than one”. I truly believe in this saying and I think brainstorms can bring several creative ideas and new ways to approach problems.
It is true that not all brainstorms are successful and they can get very messy and turn into arguments. If you respect some basic rules you can increase the probability of success and avoid unnecessary discussions.
- Prepare the room. I personally like white boards, post-its and different color pens. Cut all communications to the outside world (that includes notebooks and mobile phones!) and provide water as people need to vocalize their ideas :);
- Set your expectations clearly and give an introduction of what you plan to achieve.
- Have a moderator (that is not a contributor). His/her goal is to keep people focused on the problem at hands;
- Get a heterogeneous group and I always think small groups are better to manage (around 10 people)
- Give a few minutes for individuals to think on their own ideas and write them in a post-it and explain the purpose of the color pens (good to divide the ideas into groups). After a certain time, the moderator puts them all together in the board. Encourage people to write all their ideas, even if they can foresee roadblocks to their success
- The golden rule is: Do NOT debate the ideas themselves. You can only in witch group they belong
I thinks these tips would help you get one good and creative idea for your problem.