IKEA Brainstorming Session

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Today I traveled to IKEA in Atlanta, GA. to help a close friend restock his home. After a gut-wrenching house fire several months back, his family is just now able to resume life as normal. So to help that process along he thought it best to have furniture—go figure!

It was during the five hours of drive time that Ben and I were able to participate in what I consider to be a very successful brainstorming session. You see, Ben is a web developer—a fellow creative and tech geek who I’ve been able to use as a sounding board for my ideas ever since college. Today on the road-tip to IKEA, we both managed to hash out some of the blurred concepts and challenges bouncing around our minds.

As we all know, brainstorming has become a popular tool to help individuals generate creative solutions to complex problems. It’s a useful method for breaking out of the box and realigning established patterns of thinking in an effort to develop a fresh perspective or new way of looking at a challenge. It helps designers and developers alike in overcoming the issues that make everyday group discussion boring and unsatisfactory, but to really work… there has to be a casual and open environment for discussion.

Many companies struggle to effectively brainstorm because of office politics. Without a safe environment to discuss concepts openly—with what might be otherwise considered quirky or just plain odd solutions—a brainstorming session will manifest itself into just another sterile meeting among colleagues.

That aside, Ben and I managed to cover just about everything from HTML 5 to time management, and invoicing to conceptual projects. We even managed to dream up a couple of new possibilities for web development tools and services. It’s the kind of thing that after it’s all said and done your supercharged to jump right in and begin that next big project that’s going to revolutionize the industry as we know it.

And then hours later, you can’t remember a dang thing that was discussed in detail!
Sound familiar?

To prevent the inevitable lose of momentary brilliance I’ve developed the habit jotting some notes down on paper, the moment I have the opportunity. Best practice might be to record such conversations using your iPhone or a small hand held recorder, or if your aware the opportunity for such a session may present itself (as in an office environment)—keep a small journal with you just for the purpose of recording the minutes.

Applications like Evernote and Things can also help you organize and keep track of your ideas. Personally, I find that the memo app or traditional note taking best suits my needs, but you have to do what works for you.

Regardless of the method taken, the important thing is to record those intellectual assets and ideas.
And we’ve all had a great idea and forgot it moments later!

What triggered this brainstorming session?
Oddly enough, I mentioned to Ben that I wanted to start hosting a monthly brainstorming session at a local coffee shop where designers and web developers could bounce ideas and current challenges off one another in a creative environment without the pressures of workplace politics. A meeting of the minds with the common goal of encouraging creativity and helping fellow creatives work new solutions.

After today, I’m reassured it’s something I’ll be pursuing.

5 Replies to “IKEA Brainstorming Session”

  1. Good thoughts, Bryan. You should definitely pursue the coffee shop idea. Tom Monahan’s “Do It Yourself Lobotomy” has some excellent ideas for taking brainstorming to the next level.


  2. Maybe I should frequent your blog more, now that I know I’ll be mentioned from time to time. Judgement free discussions which aren’t aimed (directly) at how to profit from an idea and just let the ideas themselves flow are, I think, integral part of being creative and something I don’t get to do as much as I like.

    Also, bouncing ideas around in your head can be limiting and idealistic. Having to talk about and explain them to someone else can really help uncover glaring holes in your idea or concept.


  3. You should frequent the blog more, but not just to see if I’ve been talking about you. I assume we are jogging tonight?

    Seriously though, this type of free-form verbal exploration and exercising of the mind is something we all need from time to time. Let’s get the group together and talk about implementing the idea of a regular meeting of the minds.


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