Development seminars and brainstorming

We have all experienced unsuccessful brainstorming sessions and seminars or idea-generating workshops. Usually, the reason for failure is the inability to avoid critique, or one person’s ideas being more important than others’. It may also be that the wall becomes covered with sticky notes with hundreds of ideas, but no one knows what to do with them. Or simply no new ideas are generated after a long day of brainstorming.

In order to make a development seminar or a brainstorm successful, it is important to follow these rules:

  • The issues in question must be critical to the company’s or organisation’s development
  • The right people, to whom the issue is important and exciting, and who are motivated to come up with new solutions, have to be involved. Experts, decision makers and representatives of the respective field or connected fields need to be involved as well.
  • The atmosphere has to be positive and free from usual office-related distractions
  • The process of the seminar or brainstorming session has to be effective and well-structured
  • The person conducting the seminar or brainstorming has to be an independent professional
  • The objective has to be tangible. It is necessary to end up with a list of the best ideas and a clear action plan for further development and implementation

Before carrying out a development seminar or a brainstorming session, the following questions need to be answered first:

  • Why do we need new ideas? What do we wish to improve and why?
  • Who is the target group of our innovations? Who should be affected by these innovations?
  • What are we improving – product, service, processes or business model?
  • Which conditions and criteria are the innovations supposed to meet (regarding expectations on benefit, feasibility, volume of the investment, time restrictions)?

Very often people forget what it is that they are improving, and what are they collecting new ideas for. It is crucial to determine clear expectations and to focus before brainstorming.

What we do:

  • We will make preparations for the development seminar or brainstorming session, become familiar with the company or the organisation, determine a clear objective and an assignment for the brainstorming, and choose the right methods.
  • We will conduct the development seminar or brainstorm, which includes both moderation and technical organisation
  • We will summarise the session and help you work out the best conclusions and changes that need to be made.

An example of the structure of a development seminar:

  • Getting to know the participants
  • Introducing the objective and the assignment of the brainstorm
  • Generating ideas using different methods
  • Grouping and selection of ideas
  • Developing ideas further
  • Presentation of ideas
  • Assessing ideas
  • Conclusions

NB! The most important thing about a development seminar is what will happen afterwards (or will not happen). Ideas without implementation are worth little.