Business Insight

3 Tips for Successful Team Brainstorming

Group of business people brainstorming at a creative office and a light bulb in the foreground

What is brainstorming? The brainstorming definition is a collaborative practice where thoughts are exchanged and developed to create stronger ideas. The goal of a professional team brainstorming session is to build out a concept that creates more effective business practices for your corporation. Want to learn how to brainstorm productively? For three great brainstorming techniques and creative exercises, we have taken a look at a trio of highly successful companies, examined their creative project ideas, and summarized their brainstorming examples and takeaways for a more prosperous 2020. Become the perfect brainstormer with these leadership exercises!

#1. Apple

The late Apple founder Steve Jobs always fancied a walk during brainstorming sessions. Walking promotes better memory and cognitive function. Walking also lowers stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Walking additionally improves your mood and is noted to maximize creative thinking. Whenever Steve Jobs and subsequent team members were faced with a significant problem or idea that required creative solutions, Mr. Jobs found that the creative exercise of brainstorming while on a long walk outdoors yielded better results. Many great CEOs share his same thoughts on focus exercises like walking as part of their creativity exercises. According to CNBC, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner also see great value in walking to enhance the free-flow of ideas.

#2. Amazon

If Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos goes a week without brainstorming he gets restless and lets the team know that it’s time for another exchange of ideas. Bezos also has a two-pizza rule to aid in his brainstorming tools – if the team members in any given brainstorming session or creative activities cannot all receive two slices of pizza from the two ordered pies during the meeting – there are too many people in that meeting. In other words, there is something to be said for quality over quantity – if team members during a brainstorming session cannot directly add something to the topic being discussed then it is best to invite those members to another meeting where they can. Brainstorming sessions only need the core thinkers on a topic. Teams at Amazon are kept small to increase productivity and divided into groups of ten people or less. Bezos also mandates that anyone who wishes to propose a new idea must describe the inner workings of this idea in a 6-page written document that the team must read to weigh in on. Bezos reads these documents too, and carefully considers all brainstorming ideas. Jeff Bezos also prefers to leave present-day activities up to other team members so he can brainstorm for the future.

#3. Disney

Disney’s method breaks down brainstorming sessions into three rewarding and fun exercises that ask team members to think from various perspectives. These three different points of view in this brainstorming game include the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler or critic. Any idea must pass through all three points of view. You can even divide these three thought processes into separate rooms with a designated space or conference area for each way of thinking.

The dreamer: This perspective is a no-holds-bar-all-ideas-welcome perspective. In this phase, there are no bad ideas; this allows for a highly creative free-flow exchange.

The realist: This stage is about practicality; reexamining the dreamer’s ideas under a very pragmatic microscope and fine-tuning them to more grounded concepts. The realist perspective is meant to examine the potential success or failure of an idea, whether or not the plan is possible to implement, and how to implement any potentially successful strategies.

The spoiler/critic: This is the rigorous final stage before an idea is given the green light for production. Are there things that haven’t been considered that could lead to setbacks or failures? Is the strategy for implementing this idea sound? Will this idea truly yield positive results? How can one streamline the process for success?

Every company has their own ideas on how to brainstorm. Use these brainstorming examples as a way to jumpstart your own!  For more ways to elevate your business, go to

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  • Reply
    Thomas E Sollitt
    January 9, 2020 at 11:09 am

    It’s similar to the way we learned Brainstorming at Xerox. Xerox (PARC) was the most prolific idea generator in its time. Government needs to use this process rather than the; “My way is better” attitude. Many minds that resolve to the best strategy always wins the day.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Awesome info! I was going through my notes for an upcoming meeting when I came across this. I like the Apple and Disney ideas best, and will be utilizing one (or both) in the near future. Great post!

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