What’s Next?

31.05.2017 |

Episode #10 of the course How to lead a productive and creative brainstorm by TD Haines


You made it! Lesson 10!

This lesson will focus on what to do after the brainstorm and why to do it. Have I told you yet that no action is wasted? Same holds true for the post-mortem stage.


Testing Ideas

One of the key elements of “research and development” is the word “and.” You can’t just do the research and shouldn’t do research-less development. “And” is the oven when you bake a cake, turning raw ingredients into a slice of happiness.

I’m a big fan Lean Startup‘s Build – Measure – Learn loop. Build an minimum viable prototype, measure the actual use, and learn from the analyzed results. Then repeat.

The measure part is where it gets tricky. Too often people decide what to measure after it’s already being used. That makes it too easy to claim success with vanity metrics.

That’s why I like to use Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Design to help design the measure process. They have an excellent “test card” that should be used immediately after the brainstorm.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to give you the madlib version. You should work on this with the owner of the brainstormed idea.


Our idea is [name of idea].

We believe that [the hypothesis of the first thing you’re testing].

To verify that, we will [your test: include audience, platform, test specs] and we’ll measure [successful/unsuccessful behavior]. We’re right if [data-driven measure of success; you must use a number].


You do this to drive what you build, how you measure, and frame what you learned.


Reflect and Redirect

Give it a couple days, then follow up with your participants. Do individual interviews for each person and allow them to reflect on ideas and the process.

They may have thought of additional items to consider around the ideas, but the main purpose is to improve your brainstorm. Include these three main questions:

1. What did you like about the structured brainstorming process?

2. What didn’t you like about it?

3. What do you wish we did more of?

Pretty standard questions, but pay close attention to their non-verbal cues during the interview. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper if they feel strongly about something or seem like they have more to tell. The wildcard question that you should always have with you in interviews is “Why?”

“Why did you like this?” “Why did you call it this?” “Why did you feel that way?”


You Time

Lastly, make time for yourself to personally reflect. What lenses worked? Where did the conversation get hung up? Were there any times when you should have nudged, converged, or diverged more? You want to hone the brainstorm plan into the right tool for the job.

Thank you so much for taking part in this course! I’d love to see your brainstorm plans and your stories after using them. So come on over to goforthandbeawesome.com and let’s keep learning together!



• Run your brainstorm!

• Go forth!

• Be awesome!


Recommended books

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (Strategyzer) by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries


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