The #1 reason why most brainstorms fail

The biggest trap of brainstorming is: lack of implementation. The solution? An ‘Idea Contract’.

We have all experienced it. You had an amazing brainstorm session and ended up with dozens of brilliant ideas. You and the other participants felt satisfied. It was great teamwork and a productive session. Time well spent. However, a couple of weeks later you’ll find the untouched flip over sheets, covered with sticky notes, in the back of your car. By that time most participants have forgotten all about the brainstorm and are back in the corporate rat race and it’s daily affairs.

The genius ideas have turned into incomprehensible scribbles. You hand the notes over to an intern to type them out. Unfortunately nobody really cares any more. The love for the ideas is gone. They are forgotten by their creators and have no caretaker. They most likely never will be executed…

It’s important to act upon ideas immediately, right after the ideation phase. The longer you wait, the less likely that your brilliant idea will ever see the light of day.

Every success starts with a creative idea. However, generating creative ideas is only the beginning. It’s the execution that is the hard part. It requires your full attention and creativity. An idea by itself is not sufficient. Ambassadors are needed to develop and implement an idea.

One of the ways to capture the positive energy of a brainstorm, and to let participants commit themselves to the ideas, is by letting them sign an ‘Idea Contract’.

Ask participants to sign the contract right after the brainstorm. After they have selected and improved the best ideas, and while they are still exited about the ideas.

Let them show commitment to the ideas, and ask them to write down what they can do to turn the idea into a success.

Make the ‘Idea Contract’ look like a real contract, yet keep it light. It’s just a playful way to end the brainstorm and to think ahead on how to execute the ideas.

Let the facilitator fill in the title of the idea and the date of the brainstorm. After he or she has done this, ask each individual participant to put his (1) name, (2) first action step and (3) signature on the form. Make sure that the action steps are relevant and concrete.

Needless to say, using a Idea Contract is not a guarantee for innovation. However, it helps to highlight the importance of implementation and makes participants think about how they can play a part in the execution of the idea. Besides, having promised their colleagues action, participants are much more likely to act.

Free Download: We created a template of the Idea Contract that you can download and use whenever you want to improve your brainstorming outcome.

Free Idea contract


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