Some of us have had the unfortunate experience of attending a potluck that’s gone terribly wrong. Far too many entrees and no dinner rolls. Shrimp cocktail next to spaghetti. Chili next to cheesecake. And traumatizing gelatin after traumatizing gelatin.
You may have stood at the buffet table wondering how it happened, and we’re here to clear up the mystery: a terrible potluck is the result of brainstorming without organization. It’s what happens when a team decides on a theme but not on direction and clarification.
Without a method for gathering and organizing feedback on your brainstorm, you could very well end up with the task management equivalent of a culinary disaster. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to take all delicious components of your brainstorm and transform them into actionable, organized tasks.
Start with a goal in mind—Don’t assume that the team understands the goal of the project, much less the goal of the brainstorming session. It’s a good idea to refine the purpose of the brainstorm before everyone arrives and to add that to your board to keep it top-of-mind during the session.
Prepare—Before your brainstorm, it’s important you set up your board in Lucidspark. That way, you’ll be ready to go when your team arrives and won’t waste any time. Send out the Lucidspark board link along with your meeting invite. Use containers in the board to designate main goals and add sticky notes to the containers that your team can fill in during the meeting.
Bring teams together—Every team that touches your product or solution should be involved in the brainstorm, but use your discretion when deciding who should be in the brainstorm. Too many contributors could result in chaos, and too few contributors could yield too few ideas. Check in with stakeholders to make sure you’re including all the teams who will be contributing to the project.
Add authors—Keep track of ideas and feedback in large groups by toggling on the "Show authors" feature. With this feature, every sticky note will have its author's name displayed in the bottom right-hand corner. Even if the sticky note has been edited by another contributor, the original author's name will be displayed as well as the person who made changes.
Assign Collaborator colors—Meet one of the many incredible features of Lucidspark: assigned colors. Each member of every team can be assigned a personal color to help everyone keep track of contributions made to the brainstorm. This is great motivation to get members to add to the brainstorm, but it also serves to keep track of contributions so if clarification on a particular piece of input is needed in the future, you can go directly to the source of the comment.
After you’ve organized your brainstorm, it’s time to solicit feedback.
Use emojis—It’s easy to add emojis to any element on your board. (Tip: You can even add an emoji to the title of your board by typing CNTRL+CMND+SPACE on a Mac to bring up the emoji menu.) Solicit feedback in the form of emojis and get your teammates’ reactions to items on the board.
@mention teammates—Get their feedback on a specific sticky note or topic. Let’s say, for instance, you decide to incorporate a user quiz on your site that will guide your users to a personalized product. You may want to tag your head developer to see if this is a feasible idea for your site or you may want to tag your head of marketing to see if this idea would bring enough data capture to your database. Using the @mention feature is a fast way to solicit feedback from particular team members on their schedule.
Vote on ideas—Lucidspark features an integrated voting feature. Create a voting session, add details and instructions, then assign a number of votes to each member of your team. You can add a time limit for the vote and objects on which to vote. Votes are easy to see after and provide a visual consensus to the group.
Use timers—Some team members work best under pressure. Timers not only add gentle pressure to a brainstorm, but they also can serve to organize a brainstorm. Instead of suffering in awkward silence, timers keep your team focused on the task at hand while also giving participants a set time to provide feedback. Consider setting different timers for different intervals. For instance: 1 min. for high level, 3 min. for specific topics or ideas.
After your brainstorm, you may be experiencing that “potluck disaster” feeling. It’s only temporary. This is when it’s time to refine your brainstorm to make it work best for you and your team. Here’s how:
Try freehand drawing—Similarly to how writers connect plot points of your favorite television shows by drawing on white boards, using the freehand feature in Lucidspark allows you to unleash your creativity. Connect sticky notes, eliminate ideas, or just doodle until something ingenious happens. Freehand drawing adds a more organic element to the brainstorm process, and that can trigger some exciting ideas.
Use containers—It’s easy to set up containers within Lucidspark. Once you have a high-level view of the brainstorm, you’ll notice patterns that can then ladder up to larger containers. Alternatively, consider setting up containers before the brainstorm to provide guidance and remind your teams of what ideas you’re looking for.
Label and prioritize ideas with tags—Use tags to label your ideas (“dev team,” “marketing,” etc.) and prioritize them. That way, when you get ready to translate your ideas into tasks, you can start with the highest priority items first.
Sort ideas for clarity—Organize ideas and sticky notes based on tags and colors. This will allow you to quickly see where you’re short on ideas or where you have too many ideas.
Group sticky notes by priority—Collect certain sticky notes together based on keywords, reaction, who reacted, and color. Each sticky note can be tagged by high, medium, or low priority to see the most important projects and ideas at a glance. You can then choose to sort by priority or manually sort according to your own requirements.
The way you sort will depend on your needs, but once you sort and organize, you’ll essentially have your marching orders on the board. You may then solicit final feedback from the team to see if they have any additional input on the prioritization of notes.
Analysis and action—The next step is to uncover key insights and use it to make your ideas reality. Don’t let your well-organized brainstorm just sit in Lucidspark. What are the key takeaways from the brainstorm? What happens next? Export your tasks into Lucidchart and transform them into flowcharts, project roadmaps, backflow lists, scrum boards, or your choice of other methods of organization.
Brainstorming is a great first step, but it’s only as good as the ideas that get put into action. The key to moving from ideation to next steps is organizing and synthesizing all of your ideas. With Lucidspark, gathering feedback from your team is easy and organizing that feedback is a snap. And seeing the results of a productive brainstorming session is nothing short of gratifying.
Organize and sort your sticky notes to turn your brainstorm into actionable next steps using Lucidspark.Get started
Lucidspark, a cloud-based virtual whiteboard, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This cutting-edge digital canvas brings teams together to brainstorm, collaborate, and consolidate collective thinking into actionable next steps—all in real time. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidspark.com.