Meeting Layouts for Effective Brainstorming

Allow attendees to Ideate by providing spaces that encourage creativity.

The purpose of any Ideate meeting is to promote creativity and the free flow of ideas. To encourage optimal creativity and idea sharing, provide an open and informal environment for attendees.

But “informal” doesn’t mean “unplanned.”

Be purposeful about creating an informal space for Ideate meetings, and keep the structure of the brainstorming session in mind when determining the layout.

4 Room Layouts for ‘Ideate’ Meetings

Pods: Set up several pods around the room where small groups can gather and brainstorm. Pods can be created from a single desk with chairs around it; a grouping of individual desks or chairs; low, soft seating; or even beanbags. Provide white space at each pod for group members to record and display their ideas. White space can be a whiteboard, a large paper easel pad or a paper-topped table.


Face-to-face seating: For less visually focused brainstorm sessions, have attendees sit in two semicircles facing each other. When attendees share their ideas, one person can record them for the entire group to see. If individual chairs are used, this setup allows for movement among attendees.

U-shaped layout: Arrange individual chairs in a U-shape, facing a large white space. This seating arrangement works best when using a “brainwriting” technique. Provide Post-it notes and pens, then ask each attendee to write down as many ideas as possible. Attendees will then share their ideas with the larger group and stick the Post-its to the white space at the front of the room.


Mixed-seating setup: Give attendees a variety of seating options that are spread throughout the room. Set up many white spaces or a single central one, depending on the types of seating offered and the size of the group. To encourage attendees to think creatively, introduce some outside-the-box seating options like ottomans, floor pillows, benches and video-game chairs.