It is tempting to gather your team for a quick brainstorming meeting in between emails and phone calls, but this approach won’t result in breakthrough thinking. Whether you are brainstorming new product ideas or a solution to a workflow problem, a brainstorming session nets the best results when you have a change of scenery.

Brainstorming is all about generating new ideas, and a different environment can shift your team’s mindset and dynamics. Here’s why you should never brainstorm in the office:

Minimal distractions
With their desks and computers in view, your team will have a difficult time putting daily tasks and responsibilities aside to focus on brainstorming. Remember when you were in school and had to study? You likely did your best work in the library, not in your dorm room or apartment where you could be easily distracted. The same goes for your team. You want them thinking about new ideas for your business, not their to-do lists.

Emphasis on meeting importance
Given how busy everyone is, moving the location of your brainstorming session emphasizes its importance. This subtle message can encourage every member of your team to put their best effort forward. Chances are it is rare for your team to meet off-site.

Higher energy levels
Whether it is the corner booth in a coffee shop, someone’s home office, or a rented space, getting out of your usual workspace can give your team a boost and inject some welcome energy into your brainstorming session. New locations can also provide new stimuli which can inspire new ways of thinking, not just for your team but for you as well.

A shake up of relationships
In the office we tend to talk to the same people, feel intimidated by the same people and get annoyed by the same people. While you cannot necessarily revolutionize interaction patterns by changing locations, you can shake up the automatic patterns we fall into by moving people out of familiar locations. Perhaps someone will be seated next to a person they don’t usually speak with or travel to your meeting with someone they don’t know well. These modifications to your team interactions can enhance the way you generate ideas and lead to collaborations that did not previously exist.

Frees up ideas
A new environment can free people up to put forth their best ideas by helping to separate them from concerns that their job performance will be evaluated based on their brainstorming skills. Encourage this dynamic by emphasizing that the brainstorming session is not intended to be a test of their abilities; it is a genuine effort to advance the business.

If you’re looking for creative ideas from your team, situate them in fresh environment that will stimulate innovative thinking. The benefits of getting out of the office for a brainstorming session can go beyond just generating new ideas to strengthening relationships and improving morale.

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