A recent survey shows that half of the U.S.’s current economy growth relies on business organizations that are less than a decade old. Corporate giants who have been around for many years have come to fear that start-ups have the potential and motivation to disrupt the market in ways that they may not have thought of. In an age where there is innovation in all types of chaos and all types of orders, that whiz kid in a garage, somewhere in the corner of the world is feared by many corporate titans who try endlessly to find ways in which they can have their employees work as innovatively as that prodigious kid.

Innovate or die, is more than just three harsh words uttered by your boss who is trying really hard to keep his place in the company by coercing you into coming up with something brilliant. The fact is that good ideas don’t just happen. You don’t sit around and wait for an idea to pop into your head, you can make it happen through an effective brainstorming session. Brands hardly need to shy away from start-ups if they continuously innovate to ensure that they stay ahead and so that they can come up with ideas that help them stand out and can carve a persona of their own which cannot be shaken up by creative new start-ups.

While I stress continually on brainstorming to innovate and stay ahead, I must put equal stress on the fact that brainstorming has to be done effectively. A poorly planned brainstorming session has the ability to do more harm than good.

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When you hold a brainstorming session, it is very important that you set goals that are very specific. The team should have a clear idea of what is expected from the brainstorming session. So if you need to design a new range of clothes for infants, avoid something very generic as best types of clothes for infants. Instead, look for something more specific as clothes that will be most comfortable for newborns for the season. You will be covering more by being specific that the clothes are for newborns, that they are meant for this season, and that your aim is to ensure the clothes are comfortable.

This will help the team think more clearly. By the end of the session, you should be able to tell whether the goals were met or not. If they are met, it will work as an encouragement for the team that they were able to successfully solve the issue at hand. On the other hand, if the goals were not met, it means that you have a whole set of ideas that are not going to work, then you must encourage the team to look for new ideas by taking time to think individually before you do another brainstorming session.

Also make sure that your brainstorming session is based on strict timelines. It is important that the team tries to think of ways in which they can meet the goals within the specified team. If you are working with a team that is goal-oriented, then you should not face many problems when it comes to timelines. This is important for a successful brainstorm session so that it is not too short or too lengthy. After all, you would want to ensure productivity through the session.

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If you are dealing with a large project that requires lengthy hours of brainstorming, then you must plan breaks so that your team can give their mind some rest as well. This is necessary for the members because it is easy to feel overwhelmed with too much pressure on the brain to ideate.

I have mentioned this before, but it is important that you do not judge your peers during a brainstorming session. The soul of brainstorming lies in unjudged ideation. Criticism belongs outside the door once you enter a room to brainstorm. There is no other way to do it successfully. You cannot have a judgmental colleague ruin the session by his coarse remarks. It will inhibit the production of ideas and it kills the whole idea of brainstorming as Osborn devised it. If you have a participant that cannot control their harsh criticism then you can either let that participant destroy the entire process or let that person sit this one out.

Once your compilation of ideas comes to an end, begin with the most outlandish ideas to find out how they could make sense when it comes to solving the issue. Many unrealistic ideas give way to realistic and innovative ways of handling a problem.

Finally, a successful brainstorming session will have the right candidates for the team. It is important that people with different perspectives joined the brainstorming session so that you did not end up with a team of group thinkers who would simply agree with each other because they cannot think any further. For example, if you were going to look for ideas for creating a website, simply having the designers put their minds together is not going to be as effective as having designers, developers, writers as well as a person who knows nothing about any of it join the session. You will then have the viewpoint of different groups of people who would later end up being users of the site.