Our Brainstorming is a popular tool that helps you generate creative solutions to a problem.
It is particularly useful when you want to break out of stale, established patterns of thinking, so that you can develop new ways of looking at things. It also helps you overcome many of the issues that can make group problem-solving a sterile and unsatisfactory process. Used with your team, it helps you bring the diverse experience of all team members into play during problem solving. This increases the richness of ideas explored, meaning that you can find better solutions to the problems you face.
Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. It asks that people come up with ideas and thoughts that can at first seem to be a bit crazy. The idea here is that some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to the problem you're trying to solve, while others can spark still more ideas. This approach aims to get people unstuck, by "jolting" them out of their normal ways of thinking.
During brainstorming sessions there should therefore be no criticism of ideas: You are trying to open up possibilities and break down wrong assumptions about the limits of the problem. Judgments and analysis at this stage stunt idea generation.
Ideas should only be evaluated at the end of the brainstorming session - this is the time to explore solutions further using conventional approaches.
To run a group brainstorming session effectively, We do the following:
Find a comfortable meeting environment, and set it up ready for the session.
Appoint one person to record the ideas that come from the session. These should be noted in a format than everyone can see and refer to. Depending on the approach you want to use, you may want to record ideas on flip charts, whiteboards, or computers with data projectors.
Define the problem you want solved clearly, and lay out any criteria to be met. Make it clear that that the objective of the meeting is to generate as many ideas as possible.
Give people plenty of time on their own at the start of the session to generate as many ideas as possible.
Ask people to give their ideas, making sure that you give everyone a fair opportunity to contribute.
Encourage people to develop other people's ideas, or to use other ideas to create new ones.
Encourage an enthusiastic, uncritical attitude among members of the group. Try to get everyone to contribute and develop ideas, including the quietest members of the group.
Ensure that no one criticizes or evaluates ideas during the session. Criticism introduces an element of risk for group members when putting forward an idea. This stifles creativity and cripples the free running nature of a good brainstorming session.
Let people have fun brainstorming. Encourage them to come up with as many ideas as possible, from solidly practical ones to wildly impractical ones. Welcome creativity!
Ensure that no train of thought is followed for too long. Make sure that you generate a sufficient number of different ideas, as well as exploring individual ideas in detail.
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