4 Brainstorming Tips – Using Improv

Brainstorming TipsTips to Super-Charge your Brainstorming Sessions

You set the meeting, gather everyone in the room and sit back ready for the creative magic to happen – except it doesn’t. Been there, done that.

Not only can a typical brainstorming session end up being a waste of time, but invariably, if these sessions are often unproductive, there’s a good chance they’re a reflection of a strained team culture, and they’re contributing to a cycle of negative interaction.

Here are 4 brainstorming tips you can use in your next session to unblock the flow of ideas – (while also helping build a stronger, more supportive team).


Brainstorming Tip #1) Define Goals and Identify the Problem

This one isn’t specifically an improv-based strategy, but we’ve found it to be an important first step to set-up a successful brainstorming session.

Before the meeting (and not five minutes before…more like a day in advance), send everyone a clear outline that lays out the purpose of the session. What’s the focus? What problem are you trying to solve? Ask the team to challenge the premise of the problem (question the question).


Brainstorming Tip #2) Saying Yes is Great…Saying “Yes, and” is Better

You knew it was coming. The concept of “Yes, and” is foundational in the world of improv and it should be the cornerstone to every brainstorming session.

First, everyone in that room needs to be ready to say “yes”. Saying yes to ideas gets you moving. It’s the acknowledgement and acceptance of an idea, and sets up an environment of support.

With “yes”, as the acceptance of an idea, the “and” becomes the force multiplier – it’s the building upon an idea. All brainstorming needs a “Yes, and” approach to be effective. Not every idea is going to be one you keep, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised where “Yes, and” takes you.

(“Yes, and” is an activity we focus on when we work with clients in the area of Team Building – Team Building in Denver).


Brainstorming Tip #3) Save Critical Thought for a Later Date
No one wants to spend time in a meeting, let alone a brainstorming session with the “No, but” person (or even “Yes, but” person for that matter)

It’s very natural for many people to immediately apply critical thought to a new idea. And there’s a time and place where real critique will be needed…that time isn’t during the brainstorming session.

Don’t critique an idea before giving it some airtime and building on it. Being critical right out of the gate not only undermines any chance of that idea reaching its full potential, but it also creates an environment where team members become self-conscious, hold back, feel uninspired and unsupported – shutting down the flow of ideas.

Save the critiquing for stage two (or three).


Brainstorming Tip #4) There are no mistakes

Pretty straight-forward. Don’t self-edit. Let the ideation flow without feeling there’s a wrong suggestion, or contribution. Go for it.


There you have it. With these tips, brainstorming will be a meeting your staff looks forward to. And just as importantly, they’ll lead to great ideas that elevate your organization.



We work with groups in the area of facilitating Brainstorming and Ideation sessions through our corporate workshops.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us, or you can read more here – Corporate Workshops in Denver

Email us at [email protected] or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).