Brainstorming is about picking the right brains!

The best way to evolve an idea(s) is to discuss the premise with smart (& nice) people. An important caveat is to ensure the person has direct experience or interest in the problem area. He/she is either an expert and wants to share his expertise or he is a seeker, and has at some point encountered or solved a similar problem. This is crucial in getting constructive feedback. We often go for credentials in picking brain-stormers, and we overlook the inability of the person to relate to the problem or relate to your quest for the solution. Even psychologically speaking, inertia to empty the mind and think from scratch can be a huge deterrent in brainstorming.

These factors apply to outsiders as well as insiders in your life. For instance, I’ve now learned that it’s better  to brainstorm with my husband on topics we can both relate to such as parenting or analytics or travel, rather than being in a situation where I get upset because he is not “applying himself” to the topic. In casual get-togethers you will notice that some folks spontaneously interrupt friends/family by posing a question and demanding a brainstorm. Not surprisingly, people avoid the topic, or refute it’s validity to quickly move on.

Be mindful when choosing the person and the context. You’re better off when you wait for the right brains to show up and then storm them :)

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