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3 Stages of a Successful Brainstorm

Whiteboard Easel with sticky notes in office


Brainstorming is a great way to produce new and innovative ideas. Collaborating with different groups provides new perspectives and helps progress your project. However, sometimes it can be hard to determine when to stop brainstorming and put your ideas into action.

A successful brainstorm starts with divergence, moves on to convergence and ends with an action plan. It may sound intimidating, but it's much simpler than you may think.

  1. Divergence

    Divergence is when you gather as many ideas as possible, with no restrictions. Write every idea, brilliant or silly, on the meeting room dry-erase board. Not every idea has to be the right answer, but throwing all options out there may spark something amazing. It may take 10 minutes or 10 days, but eventually your team will hit a creative block. Don’t be frustrated – this is normal! It just means it’s time to move on to the next brainstorming step: convergence.

  2. Convergence

    Now it’s time to reign in your thoughts. Take all of the ideas you’ve written down and weed out the ones that will not work. Only remove ideas that will not work for very plain, unavoidable reasons, such as budget or staff restrictions. Do not erase an idea from the dry-erase board just because you are not sure how to do it. Work as a team to determine the best idea and create a plan to put it into action.

  3. Developing an Action Plan

    It may be tempting to tweak, change or perfect your idea at this point, but try to avoid this for now. You’ve done a lot of work to get this far – follow through and see where it takes you. Work as a team to create next steps and bring your vision to life.

The beauty of ideas is that they are always growing and changing. Brainstorming gives you a chance to capture these ideas and put them into action. When it’s time to rethink, get your team together and see where your next great idea will take you.