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Do You Need a Good Idea?

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.”
-H.E. Luccock (1885–1960)Methodist Minister and Professor at Yale

The financial services industry is continually evolving, from an increase in demand for digital delivery to the disruption of FinTech solutions (e.g., PayPal and Square) and the desire for a more personalized user experience. You need fresh ideas to stay competitive. Brainstorming sessions are a valuable tool for generating creative solutions that move your business forward. However, they must be run effectively to spark the creativity required to energize your firm.

Brainstorming Tips:

1. Select a diverse group of participants who are likely to see things from different angles and offer varied perspectives.
2. Keep the group relatively small, so everyone has an opportunity to contribute, with around seven participants as ideal.
3. Send the group a pre-read containing background information, the problem you’d like to solve, and the objective of the session, so everyone shows up prepared. Some people will need the opportunity to think alone beforehand.

1. Designate a facilitator, someone you feel will be able to guide the conversation in a positive way, build upon ideas, and engage quieter team members.
2. Enforce conversation ground rules, including the elimination of distractions, such as cell phones, and the establishment of a ‘no-judgment zone’ to encourage a free flow of ideas, including those that may seem outlandish. Out-of-the-box solutions can end up being the best ideas!
3. Limit the session to between 60–90 minutes, long enough to build momentum but not so long that everyone is drained. Take a break, when needed, to re-energize.

1. Record and evaluate all ideas, creating a pros and cons list for the best possibilities.
2. Dig deeper, doing research, if necessary, to assess the viability of each suggestion.
3. Organize a follow-up conversation with team leadership to implement the next steps.

Address your firm’s challenges, take advantage of potential opportunities, and generate ideas for a competitive advantage through brainstorming. Even if your team is still working remotely, you can hold a brainstorming session virtually.