The creative process: adding vs. filtering

Picture this; you gather with your team for a brainstorming session. You get comfy, clear out the briefing and it's time to start spitting out ideas. After a short silence, you throw the first idea that comes up to your head and all you get is a "ugh, no", "that won't work" and a pretty rude "that's been done already".


If this situation sounds too familiar, it's time we talk about two concepts: adding vs. filtering.

When you face a brainstorming session or any other kind of creative course, the first you want is a lot of ideas. Why a lot? Well, imagine you are about to play a football game. You want to win the game, so you set up the tactic; let's shoot for goal as much as we can. Makes sense, right? The more times you shoot, the bigger probability you'll have to score and win the game. 

With ideas, it works in the same way. The more you have, the more chances to have an awesome one.

If this is not enough reason, we'll give you a second one; you can use other people's ideas to build something greater and better. Use them as triggers for your thoughts. Combine and modify them. We have a beautiful post about that. Go and read it.

So you have a bunch of ideas already. Now it makes sense to start filtering and selecting. After adding, not before that, indeed, because how are you going to filter if you don't have anything to filter?

Everything at the right time
It's important we don't mix these two concepts. Differentiate the adding and the filtering stage. It's not only about creating some order and making the process more efficient but also to create a safer space for your creatives. In a good adding phase, everyone is welcome to say the silliest ideas. It should be mandatory. It's the time to explore and take risks. 

If you start shooting down ideas at an early stage, you'll kill some potential gems and destroy your team's vibe. 

So remember, next time you start ideating, first add, then filter.