Five Ways to Improve Brainstorm Meetings (for Game Designers!)

#1: Invite non-designers to participate.

#2: Write the subject or problem to be solved on a whiteboard (or somewhere prominent).

The whiteboard after one of our Sims Social brainstorming meetings

#3: Use the first five minutes of your meeting to allow people to brainstorm individually.

#4: Everyone that attends the meeting is required to participate.

#5: Be an active and engaging group leader.

  • When designers are getting too far into debating the merits of a particular idea: “There will be time for that outside the meeting, right now we’re all about free expression without criticism. Let’s keep moving.” Don’t be afraid to stop the conversation if it’s not a good use of the time.
  • Someone suggests a compelling idea that doesn’t fit at all within the context of the meeting: “Giraffes on roller skates sounds epic, so I’ll write that down for us to discuss later. Now let’s get back to city-building mechanics.”
  • Someone suggests something that is wildly off-brand. This may or may not be an issue for your particular game, but it did come up every so often on The Sims, a popular IP that has very specific guidelines as to what is acceptable and what isn’t. So… “A gangster week that includes Sims shooting at one another with guns? Yeah, sorry guys, that isn’t going to fly. Let’s come up with something else.”

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Christine Brownell

Christine Brownell

Director of Design @ Media Molecule. Opinions are my own.