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Lightning strikes the CN Tower Sunday August 9, 2009. (Jim Bradford/CP)
Lightning strikes the CN Tower Sunday August 9, 2009. (Jim Bradford/CP)

The Manager

After the brainstorm Add to ...

A brilliant brainstorming session ... but what happens now?

Brainstorming can be uplifting, but you can't leave all the ideas - and expectations - on the flip-chart sheets.

On his Management Excellence blog, consultant Art Petty offers these suggestions to dig out after the brainstorm:

Plan for the post-session work:

Make sure you have considered how you will capture the ideas in the session and channel them into the implementation phase. Share the rough post-session plan with participants in advance to beat back skepticism about the session's value.

Keep the creativity running post-event:

Ask people to keep thinking and building on the session's ideas afterward, rather than stopping abruptly when the clock runs out that day. Provide the summary output to everyone and encourage them to build on the ideas or develop new threads that were missed. Provide a method for adding and sharing those concepts.

Extend the selection process:

Often near the end of a brainstorming session, participants vote on options to pursue. But there's often little investment in the vote and the voting may be based on an unclear understanding of the ideas. Instead, extend this process to after the session, encouraging participants to select an option and recruit colleagues to help extend the idea, which gets them to put more skin in the game.

Expand the pool:

Create an opportunity for people to come together to describe and pitch their extended ideas, and later for them to ask for funds to implement.

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