Brainstorming is an important element to improving

It’s probably safe to assume to most managers of nonprofit organizations have a functioning brain, and once in a while it can be helpful to put that bring to work in some different way.

At the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 2015 Washington Nonprofit Conference, Yoon Lee of the Smithsonian Institution and Will Valverde of M+R not only emphasized the value of brainstorming but also offered tips on getting the most out of a brainstorming session.

The tips:

* Warmups matter. Four ways to warm up are Mad Libs, Sentence Game, Rebranding something or Brackets (cake vs. pie, most annoying “SNL” character).

* Creativity doesn’t spark itself. Four ways to mix things up are Silent Storm (three minutes to write down ideas), Rolling Thunder (write for three minutes, pass one on, add one), Gathering Storm (Small groups) and Lightning Storm.

* Don’t stop until you get enough. Talk about failure. Use a thesaurus or rhyming dictionary. Review pop culture and find a hero or villain an audience cares about. Remember medium, moment, and message.

* There are no bad ideas, only bad people. Four ways to brainstorm badly are: Keep quiet (you don’t have to have the best ideas, just ideas), Undermine yourself, Say an idea is bad (nothing kills a brainstorm faster), Say an idea is good (it’s great to get excited, but add something).