Brainstorming Yearbook Ideas: A Flurry of Sticky Notes!

The beginning of the school year is all about brainstorming. From putting a new spin on old features to coming up with unique article topics to include, your committee will spit out more concepts than you can ever hope to use in the final product. What’s a great way to record and narrow down some of these great ideas? Below, I’ll walk you through an easy way to come up with and track new yearbook ideas, and how to keep them in order until each concept is finalized.

Stick to Your Brainstorming Sessions

To keep track of all the great ideas that come out of your committee meetings, you need a simple way to share, save, and move ideas around. How you do this also needs to be highly visual, as this will keep more members of your team engaged throughout the brainstorming process. And that’s exactly how this fun sticky note activity can help.

Step One: Start by dividing your committee up into smaller groups. Ideally, you’ll have at least three small groups to work with.

Step Two: Ask each group to start brainstorming yearbook ideas for your book. How specific you get in this step of the process is up to you. For example, you could have them focus on new ideas for the yearbook in general, go very niche by focusing on your theme, think up specific features to add to a particular section, or even brainstorm concepts to use within unique spreads that you plan to include. Each group should write their ideas on separate sticky notes, which you’ll circulate in the next step.

Step Three: Once you’ve given each group ample time to come up with at least ten ideas to share, move their stack of ideas to the next group to review. As a group, have them vote thumbs up or thumbs down on each of the ideas you’ve shared. They should record their yes or no vote on the backside of each note. Continue moving the sticky notes throughout your groups until each has had a chance to review all of the yearbook ideas your teams came up with.

Step Four: Any idea that received two or more (depending on your number of groups) “thumbs down,” or “no” votes should be removed from the running immediately. Add the notes with yearbook ideas that are still considered viable to your whiteboard at the front of the room.

Step Five: Now, go through each of the remaining ideas and ask your committee to determine if each one is feasible: can you create a real story around this idea? Remove any that you just can’t implement.

Document The Remaining Yearbook Ideas

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of yearbook ideas to ones that your team is excited about, and you can implement, you need to organize them into your timeline. Also, save your sticky notes from the brainstorming activity in a binder that you can refer back to in the future. This allows you to look back on the handwritten idea for reference, should you find yourself stuck, or not understanding the notes that are added to your implementation calendar.

Additionally, your committee will come up with some awesome ideas that you just can’t use in this year’s publication. Perhaps they don’t fit your theme, or aren’t in your budget to tackle. Whatever you do, don’t lose those fabulous concepts! We previously outlined our favorite digital tools that you can use to save unused ideas for the future. These tools are also excellent to help you stay organized if you aren’t sure whether a particular concept will fit into this year’s book, and want to revisit it a few months down the road.

Remember, your yearbook is only as exciting as the kind of content you include. And coming up with content ideas is not a one-man job. Use this fun sticky note activity to get started, and our list of digital tools to best manage all of the concepts you plan to use. In no time, you’ll have great new yearbook ideas–and content–coming out of your ears!

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