The brainstorming session ...
Proper brainstorming can take a project from good to great! The point here is to step out into the "what if, why not, and what has never been done before". It is a place few are capable or willing to explore because they have either been conditioned to think practically, or they have been discouraged by other people's criticism for exploring ideas beyond what is safe and acceptable. Brainstorming is the place where there are no limits, constraints, or obstacles. It's that place we used to play when we were kids; when anything was possible and everything was achievable. There are many brainstorming techniques and methods, but they mostly subscribe to a generally acceptable form and function. Without going into the specific details used at FUNRULY, the methods generally practiced include the following:
1. Spark The Idea
Every brainstorming sessions starts with "the overall objective". No matter what the project, there is reason and purpose. If it's a theme park, it might be a discussion on experiences, themes, attractions, etc. If it's a restaurant or retail space, it might be how to create the experience that reinforces the brand. If it's a museum, it might be how to teach or communicate a particular concept. What ever it is, it should be in the form of a BIG QUESTION.
2. Maintain A Healthy Separation Between "The Creative" and "The Critical"
At this stage, creative thinking and critical thinking should be kept separate. There is no place for editing ideas here. Thoughts, ideas, and "what ifs" should flow freely without any real world consideration, constraints or boundaries. Everything is captured and MORE IS BETTER.
3. Avoid Value Engineering
Value engineering is one of the most destructive things that can be introduced into the brainstorming session. In fact, at this stage the opposite should be exercised. Instead of breaking an idea apart, it should be bigger and bloated with outrageous additions. The idea is to explore the NEVER BEFORE BEEN DONE.
4. Avoid Evaluating Ideas
In the spirit of going from "safe" to "insane", everyone must subscribe to withholding opinions. One of the worst things that can be done during a brainstorming session is to provide an opinion on an idea. Sometimes referred to as "constructive criticism", it is more appropriately "destructive criticism". Even the most creative people harbor some deep rooted apprehensions of sharing a wildly outlandish idea for fear of how it might be received. The brainstorming session must not only be a safe place, but a place where CRAZY IS ENCOURAGED.
5. Encourage More
Exhaust all ideas. Even after you feel like there is no more, encourage more by the use of games, role playing, music, food, and other sensory exercises. When you think your have exhausted all possibilities, ASK FOR THREE MORE IDEAS.
6. Anything Goes
The basic mindset should not be whether an idea is crazy, but whether it is crazy enough. Budget, feasibility, schedule and other real world constraints come later and are subject to the same brainstorming methods (at a separate time) in order to find the solution to make that wild idea a reality. Bringing in constraints only serve to hobble the creative process and leads to missed opportunities. It's OK to ENTERTAIN THE IMPOSSIBLE.