Brainstorming

December 13, 2010

Brainstorming is a creative group approach to developing ideas and originating solutions during the ideate stage.
Brainstorming seeks to generate many different ideas that are subsequently pared back to a few possibilities for potential development. The brainstorming process starts by defining the problem to be addressed, selecting group participants that will address it, and forming questions with which to stimulate the creative process.

During the brainstorming session, participants have free rein to make Suggestions in a non-critical environment. This encourages the presentation of unusual and potentially useful ideas. Resources such as flip charts or a whiteboard may be used to facilitate the process and to record the ideas that are generated. Following the session, ideas are grouped by type and their suitability assessed in order for a shortlist of the best ideas to be formed.

Rules:

Do not criticise: this is the most important rule. Criticism prevents people from making suggestions and voicing options. Any idea is valid in brainstorming.

Keep the process manager-free: the presence of line managers may inhibit the flow of ideas.

Avoid resolve: do not start working up or resolving an idea that looks like a Possible . leader during the session. Instead, carry on generating ideas during the allotted time. Ideas can be resolved following the evaluation stage.

Work to a target: a numerical target helps idea generation as participants move away from standard thinking on the subject in order to achieve it. Focus on quantity, not quality

Clock watch: set a time b~ which the session should end. This helps to keep the pressure on, forcing more ideas to be generated.

Let go: participants must not be afraid of offering odd, wacky or wild ideas, although this does not mean participants should not take the session seriously.

Be inclusive: the session chairperson should prevent any group members from dominating the session and should encourage all members to contribute.

Ambrose/Harris 2010, p. 66

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