How to ideate under stress

There is this image of happy and peaceful people working with post-its and markers in a clean and inspiring environment. It's probably the most common one when you visit an agency's website.

Having the pleasure of working focused and calmed sounds excellent, but, does it meet reality? We know how deadlines work and clients demands can be extremely challenging. 


So, how is like to ideate under a stressing situation? If you see yourself in this situation, it's time to make some decisions. 

A formula for stressing ideation session

You know how we always say brainstorming sessions should have an exploration phase and a filtering phase. When you are under stress, you should still keep this structure, altho we propose you do the following tweaks to it.

Exploration phase
Now you don't have the time to explore calmly as many ideas as possible. For being more efficient, divide your team into smaller teams and give them 15-20 minutes to ideate. Then come back and share it with the team. If your group is too small, let everyone explore individually. It's also essential that you encourage them to use whatever inspiration method they find useful. 

Filtering phase
Consensus can take a lot of time. In this context, you want to make decisions, so it's probably better to use other decision-making processes. Give the choice power to the person who you feel is the expert for this case. It could be the one who is closer to the client or the one that has more experience. If you don't feel comfortable with it, go for the majority of votes.

All these tweaks could be handy for stressing situations, altho keep in mind that there is another critical element for succeeding in this context: keep the mood high! Make it a challenge, motivate your team turning the project into a game, or just joke about it.

Stress doesn't have to be a bad thing; it could push us to do more.