Richard Branson - 5 brainstorming tips

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Richard Branson

Richard Branson recently fielded a question from an entrepreneur.com reader, who was keen to know how to get the most out of brainstorms.

After tackling so many different challenges and launching so many new businesses the Virgin Group Founder has taken part in his fair share. Check out five of his top tips, which should help your next brainstorm be your most productive yet.

1. To think outside the box, avoid getting into one.

Many management consultants suggest scheduling regular brainstorming sessions so that you and your team can "think outside the box" or do some "blue-sky thinking." I hate those terms being creative shouldn't be confined to specific times in your day. You and your staff should try to be innovative in every aspect of your work, every day. But brainstorming is great for when you get stuck and can't find a solution.

2. Choose a creative environment.

I find that I often come up with my best ideas when I'm on the move either traveling or exercising or just taking a walk. When you run into a problem and decide to hold a brainstorming session, get everyone out of that stuffy, cramped office, which isn't going to be conducive to creative thinking.

3. Define the Problem, not the Solution.

While everyone gets an opportunity to think creatively during a brainstorming session, there should be a practical purpose for your gathering, or else you may end up going nowhere. When the conversation strays, remind everyone about the problem you're trying to solve, and keep working toward that objective.

4. Keep the ideas fresh.

Rather than surrounding yourself with the same people at every session, invite employees from other parts of your company to join in. You just might find that employees elsewhere in your business have great ideas someone on your accounts team might have a suggestion that leads to an unusual and creative marketing strategy, or one of your administrators might point out a recent change that helps the team to come up with a new sales pitch.

5. Make sure everyone is heard.

The quiet guy sitting in the corner may have excellent suggestions, but unless you give everyone the chance to speak, he won't be heard over the person shouting at the top of his voice. Encourage listening as much as talking.

To find out some more tips from Richard Branson, head over to entrepreneur.com.

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