Brainstorming versus Mindstorming How to Get the Best Answers

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At one point or another, most of us have engaged in brainstorming. You sit around in a room with two or more people and, as a group, try to come up with 20 answers to a specific problem or question. There’s no judgement and no wrong answers. Just shout-out your answer and we put it on the list.


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This is a great exercise, and I have used it to solve many problems in the past.


Mindstorming is a lot like brainstorming, but it is done alone. You sit down, think about a problem, and come up with 20 answers.  No judgement, no wrong answers. Just write them down as you go along.2D-2


This is a very powerful tool I often use to help solve problems.


The other day, I listened to a guest on JLD’s Entrepreneur on Fire podcast who gave me a very interesting insight I want to share with you today.   The guest was Shane Snow, author of Dream Teams.  Shane talked about what happens when you have one person work a solution instead of a team. A single person works very hard. Then, if you take two people who work very hard and put them together, you’ll definitely get more effort than one person, but you won’t get twice the effort. When you put two players together, each actually gives less than they would working alone. Yes, the combined effort is more than one of them working alone, but it’s not twice as much. And it’s not just two people. If you put 10 people together, you don’t get 10 times as much effort, you actually only get about 7.4.


My point? When we brainstorm, not everyone gets involved.  Some people are shy. Some people are introverted. Some people, especially entrepreneurs, don’t play well in groups.


The net result – we may lose some of the best ideas.


But what happens when we combine mindstorming and brainstorming together, do we maximize the process?


The next time you have a problem to solve, have each member of your team work it independently. Mindstorm the idea. Have each team member create 20 answers each.


Then have someone collect and combine the lists, eliminating duplicates.


You will get ideas you never would have come up with in a brainstorming session.



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Real Life: I have a client who always wants to do have a quick brainstorming session, “let’s get the team together in a room and brainstorm the idea.“  We do it, and the results are good, but they’re not as great as they could be.


So, I tweaked the process a bit. I gave the problem to everyone in the group and asked them to work on it individually for 30 minutes. Then, we sat down as a team and went through the ideas to find the best solution.


It’s amazing what happens.

Instead of a room full of people pulled away from what they feel they should be doing and who weren’t going to say anything anyway, we got dozens of ideas we might never have considered in a normal brainstorming session.


Mindstorming is a great productivity aid.

So next time you need to solve a problem, I encourage you to try this concept and see what you come up with:


1/         Write the problem down and give it to all your team members.  Have then mindstorm 20 answers to the question. Tell them they can’t stop until they get to 20.  Then remove the duplicates and make a master list.


2/         Send the master list to all the members and have them review it on their own.


3/         Then, and only then, come together as a team and decide on the best answers to the problem.



You will be amazed.


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