How To Lead Innovative Brainstorming Sessions


This month, we’ve covered the three types of intuition that you can integrate into your company for greater decision making—namely directional, social, and informational intuition. Today we look at how to build intuitive intelligence on your teams during brainstorming sessions for greater innovation and creative thinking.

How do you get your team to think outside the box for fresh solutions to your top challenges? In order to open up a creative space for strategic thinking, you need to interrupt your team’s normal thinking patterns. Here are some steps you can take that lead to powerful results, no matter if you are strategizing a new product launch, goals for the coming year, or how to solve a customer service issue that keeps arising.

#1: Check Phones at the Door

Recent studies have found that participants who had their smartphones with them—even if they were turned off—scored significantly worse on tests of cognitive capacity. And while we might be dumbing ourselves down by over-relying on phones and less on our creative impulses, it is also a distraction from delving deeper into our subconscious mind and the source of our creativity. Sinek and others suggest banning phones from meetings for this very reason.

I have found that in order to facilitate the collective intelligence of your team, you need to eliminate distractions for these types of meetings. And leaving cell phones off is a great place to start.

#2: Create Safety

No idea is stupid in a brainstorming session. In fact, the more that we feel safe to stretch our imaginations, the more room we create for innovation.

Safety is the bedrock of creativity and innovation. People only take risks when they assess that it’s safe to do so. As a manager or facilitator of a brainstorming session, it is imperative to have everyone feel welcome and included in the conversation, and that no contribution will be ridiculed or shamed.

When managers or colleagues put down staff in public, people tend to shut down and learn that it’s not safe to take risks. And innovative thinking is all about risks and thinking outside the norm. So, what do you need to say, do, or model to have everyone feel secure, so that they can access their intuition and subconscious mind for more creative decision making and strategy?  

#3: Leverage Your Team’s Intelligence

Everyone’s different in how they think, approach, and make decisions. Use an assessment such as the Gallup StengthsFinder to helps you figure out everyone’s unique strength on the team. You can work more intuitively as a team once that is in place. Intuition is all about being open. If anything creates barriers or blocks, such as how people learn and take in information, it will block access to their deeper wisdom.

#4 Disrupt the Rational Mind

While critical thinking and reasoning are necessary for analyzing business decisions, one of the missing ingredients in most brainstorming sessions is recognizing the value of the subconscious mind. And the subconscious mind is where our intuition lives. Because the subconscious mind processes information 500,000 x faster than the conscious mind, business leaders who get this understand the value of slowing down, interrupting our normal thinking, and allowing space for intuitive insights to find us.

Business leaders and managers that I work with use creative disruptions to get their teams out of their heads, with amazing results. Such techniques include getting out of the office, going on company retreats, engaging in group activities, juggling, playing games and accessing other creative ways of learning and sharing, physical challenges, mindfulness practices and many other techniques to help staff get into their bodies and deeper brain states.

All of these steps allow team members to access their intuition and bring more insight and bigger-picture thinking into your meetings. For further inquiries on how to deepen your company’s strategic meetings and decision making, contact [email protected].