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Team Think Labs | The Cat Guideline To: Brainstorming In Groups
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The Cat Guideline To: Brainstorming In Groups

  The soul sinking words no creative wants to hear.

It is at this that wonder that wonder how in the world we get work done is such tight deadlines.

It is also in this exact moment that we wish we had more than just a few days to some up with killer concepts and keep making the internet beautiful without having to stay in the office until late or stress out about concepting magic over night But the truth is that your bosses hired you for a reason. a killer portfolio?, amazing programming skills?. Chances are you have all that and more. but the most important thing is that you are able come up with great work on tight deadlines and you are able to not go over budget.

Brainstorming has always been a crucial part of my design process and After reading HOW’s “Caffeine For The Creative Team” book i decided to pull a few tips that are provided there and add some cat spice to come up with a super duper guideline to come up with great group concepting dynamics for those tight deadlines.

Get the right number of brainstormists.

Most People tend to think that the more brains there are in the project, the more ideas will emerge. But, Mind blowing ideas never come out in a room filled with 20 creative cats


  • 4-7 people for a brainstorming session. Everyone will have a voice and can contribute and there will be enough range of perspective


  • Don’t have too many cats, duh!!! It enables people to hide or even worse, devaluation of their input

Don’t Surround Yourself With other YOUS.

Cats are attracted to cats. Those who are in the idea business have been programmed that account service people or clients don’t have anything valuable to offer. But true brainstorming invites conflict in small, productive doses.


  • Mix people with different perspectives and creative backgrounds
  • Include the Account Managers, they have awesome ideas once in a while too ;)
  • Devs are welcome too
  • Freelancer or interns tend to solve problems in a different way than seasoned veterans. Their idea might be just as awesome and way more simple

Give Yourself Time And No Pop Brainstorming Quizzes

Nothing is less fruitful than a surprise brainstorming session after spending all morning cutting out chain-link fence from its background for that website. It’s difficult to turn off the production side and turn on the creative side.


  • If possible, give your team a few days notice to when you will need their awesome ideas. This will give them a chance to think on their own.
  • It’s a hybrid of these ideas that starts to take flight  by other people in the group applying their perspectives to the idea. Soon we are presented with an idea that’s bigger than everyone and owned by the group.

New Input Familiar output

Ideas are generated by mixing input with experience, we take in information and combine it with our own unique experience to generate an idea. Providing subject-oriented input before brainstorming sessions will help produce fresh ideas during it.


  • Go out and research your subject
  • Once the ideas start flowing, return to that
  • comfortable “Idea Room” for the idea download
  • The room must be free of distractions, but, filled with visual incentive of the subject to generate ideas from (Example. Power Rangers Presentations)

Have Something Up Your Sleeve

As creative or inventive our brainstorming sessions are If we do the same thing in the same order each time, we are bound to get the same results each time.


  • It is important to keep things unexpected
  • Budgets are important to be careful with the cat food for brainstorming
  • When the team knows that there is something new in store for them as they walk into the room they will come with more anticipation and more passion and will be prepared  to give more

Bring In The Play

 Ideas don’t come to us at a dedicated time. But it is always good to keep an eye out for them just as a buch a mice. If the ideas are not coming to the team, going out and getting your mind away from the project for a while and relaxing into admiring each other’s awesome whiskers or doing something that is fun for them can be as big of a catalyst as a big ball of yarn!


  • Brainstorming should be a playful, active process. It should light and free flowing, and the team should a have a fun dynamic and laugh a lot
  • Consider bringing items relevant to the project or even playing a show or video that might be useful
  • We want the team to spend time thinking with each other, so spend the time to create an environment that will encourage them to do that
  • Value your team’s time. folks are more likely to engage into a brainstorming session if they know it will end at some point

Leave Judgement At The Door

How do we kill group creative thinking?  The answer is very simple, “Judge” Nothing will destroy creative thinking faster than  judging the value of an idea right on the spot. No one wants to give an idea that is slightly of the path because of fear of it being pushed off the board. The fact is the idea might suck worse than running into a GANG OF PIT BULLS but with group participation and redirection the idea could evolve into a killer concept.


  • Encourage the free flow of ideas by encouraging the team that no one will be judging the viability of ideas during the meeting
  • Simply focus on getting as many thoughts out there and document them for further analysis
  • After the meeting is over with, go through the pool of ideas or concepts with the lead designer or entrusted person to determine the most valuable ones

Put On The Back-Patter Hat 

In every team environment, there are personalities that are stronger than others. Aggressive participants often will grab hold of the conversation while shy, passive participants will be less likely to openly engage the team. Both personalities are very important to reach creative success. Each one contributes a unique perspective and is the mixture of these personalities that makes an active thriving brainstorming session.


  • If you are the leader of the session, do notice this behavior and moderate the participants in order to get everyone’s input
  • Encourage everyones participation even if the ideas are not flowing as usual. even the most creative cat may have a hard time coming up with creative thinking from time to time

<—- this cat has many point of view






But The Most Important Tip Is: