How to effectively brainstorm with your facilities management team
As technology continually improves and innovators are constantly developing new approaches to facilities management, you may want to think about reshaping the ways you manage space. This may require using new software, rethinking your office layout or redoing your budget to reflect different priorities.
Before you can undertake any large-scale facilities management projects, the first thing you have to do is brainstorm. Coming up with ideas can be a difficult process - you have to first find a source of inspiration, then fully gather your thoughts, then gradually trim down to only your most promising ideas.
Brainstorming is always tough, but it's especially difficult in facilities management. You're often working with a team of people who all have different opinions, and the entire office depends on your decisions to be productive.
IT Web recently noted that facilities management is rapidly becoming a more complex field. Dewald Booysen, chief technology officer for Dimension Data's Advanced Infrastructure business, explained that the FM environment is now about much more than a janitor and his boss. It houses a field of well-trained professionals.
"The various tasks and assets which fall under facilities management have never enjoyed the same levels of precision, control and discipline that is found in the data center," Booysen told the news source. "The functions for which the facilities manager is responsible are just as important to operating a business as the functions in the data center."
With so many areas to oversee, ranging from simple matters like electricity and plumbing to more complicated issues like security, you need to be constantly wearing your thinking cap. Here are some tips on how to brainstorm effectively.
The creative environment
Before you begin to brainstorm, you should make sure you're in the right environment. Do you think well when sitting at your desk, enjoying peace and quiet? Maybe you prefer to be in an action-packed meeting room surrounded by passionate co-workers, or maybe it would be better to take it outside and go for a walk. Find a place that inspires you and your team. Whatever setting enables you to be most creative, you should embrace it.
A mix of thinkers
The best brainstorming teams have a mix of people with different approaches to thinking. Some are creative types who enjoy coming up with abstract ideas, while others have strictly mathematical, analytical minds. If your team has a combination of the two, you'll be able to come up with fully-formed ideas. One side of the room can brainstorm, and the other side can envision the results.
The no-judgment zone
It's important to make sure your brainstorming room is a no-judgment zone. Early on in the brainstorming process, you want to be as accepting of others' ideas as possible - you never know when someone's initial thought might snowball into a major facilities management breakthrough. There will be plenty of time for eliminating bad ideas later, but in the beginning, nothing is a non-starter. Let the creative juices flow and allow people to speak their minds freely.
Fine-tune your approach
Be mindful of the fact that different people have different styles for brainstorming new ideas. Some people like to meet face to face, while others prefer to meet virtually, either via phone or email. Some people prefer sharing ideas in real time, but that's also not for everyone - it's perfectly valid to stagger your communication about new concepts, taking a night to "sleep on it" if necessary. Whatever you do, make sure you're accommodating of your team members' varying needs. Everyone has different styles of brainstorming and communicating, and you should cater to others' needs.
Brainstorming is the most important part of developing new ideas in facilities management. If you can do it effectively, you'll be well on your way to success.