Once you have determined the purpose of your event, the next step is to come up with a means by which you can fulfill that purpose. You know your destination, you just need a path to get there.
When you brainstorm, you are trying to produce ideas and solutions to solve a problem. While it can be done alone as an individual, often the best results come when the brainstorm is done with many people together in a group. You want a wide variety of people included in a brainstorming session. You definitely want the core team that will ultimately be carrying out the initiative. As well, you may also consider including individuals who are experienced with event planning or with the subject of the purpose of your initiative.
Here is how the Turn the Page team brainstorms ideas for new initiatives after we’ve determined the purpose:
1. State the question your group is trying to answer, and write it on the top of the board or large sheet of chart paper. For example, the question might be “What type of event can we host that will both raise money and also educate students about poverty and the importance of accessible education?”. This is to focus the discussion to the topic at hand and ensure that everyone knows the reason for the brainstorm.
2. Openly discuss each person’s ideas and write down each one. It is a good idea to make one or two people in charge of note keeping; the format you choose to record ideas down are up you. We recommend using a web because that way it is easier to connect ideas that are related. At this stage, the more creative your ideas are, the better. There are no limits and you should dream as big as you can. Feed off of each other’s inputs and really let the conversations take off. The “what if”s, “or”s, and “what about”s always make ideas stronger and often more creative. In brainstorming, no idea is a bad idea and all should be given equal consideration.
3. Connect the ideas that are either related or can be incorporated with one another; for example a read-a-thon can be connected to a book drive. Note that one idea can be connected to multiple other ideas. You will find that these two or more connected ideas will come together to create a new hybrid idea that has components of all the connected ideas. Put all the new ideas into a list to make it more manageable; likely at this point the chart paper or board is filled with lines and is a little confusing.
Now that your group has candidate ideas for the event, it is time to make decisions and decide which one you will actually carry out.