Brainstorming

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Generating new ideas in a group activity. Explanation of Brainstorming.

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  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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Brainstorming ProcessThe Brainstorming (brainstorm) method is a semi-structured creative group activity, used most often in ad-hoc business meetings to come up with new ideas for innovation or improvement. Members of the group are encouraged to put forward ideas about a problem and how it may be solved, in order to generate as many ideas as possible, even if they are not always usable alternatives. The idea behind brainstorming is, that a group of people can achieve a higher (synergy) level of creativity than the sum of the participants separately.


Brainstorming Rules

Three major rules for a successful brainstorm session are:

  1. Participants should be encouraged to come up with as much ideas as possible, however strange they are (there are no bad ideas).
  2. No judgment should be given about any idea, until the end of the session. Whether negative or positive.
  3. Participants should be encouraged to build on each others ideas, creating unlikely combinations and taking each one in unexpected directions.

Brainstorming hints

Some hints for a successful brainstorm session are:

  • Use an experienced facilitator. External?
  • Appoint one person to write down all ideas that come out of the brainstorm session.
  • Use a flip chart for making the notes. This enables later study and evaluation at the end of the session.
  • Identify a precise topic to be discussed (keep the session focused on the problem).
  • No more than 8-10 people in one session. If there are more participants, then split up the brainstorm session and report to each other afterwards.
  • One person writes everything down.
  • Evaluate the ideas in 2 steps: A: define the criteria. B: score the results on the criteria.
  • At the end of the brainstorming session you should discuss the steps needed to implement the ideas. If this is complicated, do another brainstorming session on how to implement the ideas.
  • Clearly define the problem you want solved, and lay out any criteria to be met.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let people have fun with the brainstorming meeting.
  • Encourage people to come up with as many ideas as possible. Both the solidly practical ones and the wildly impractical ones are welcome.
  • Welcome creativity.
  • Ensure that no train of thought is followed for too long.
  • Encourage people to develop other people's ideas, or to use other ideas to create new ones.

The effectiveness of brainstorming

Although brainstorms are used frequently worldwide for over 70 years, the effectiveness of them for generating new ideas is debatable. Brainstorms are most effective to generate a lot of ideas in a short timeframe. Group processes are also effective for evaluating existing ideas. However (bright) individuals are said to be better at creating original and higher-quality ideas.


Book: Michael Michalko - Thinkertoys (A Handbook of Business Creativity) -

Book: Jason Rich - Brain Storm: Tap into Your Creativity to Generate Awesome Ideas and Remarkable Results -


Brainstorming Forum
  Brainstorming Alone
What do you think of using a mobile tool for doing...
     
 
  Learning Canvas 3.0 for Brainstorming
The Learning Canvas (Alexandre Magno, "How Creativ...
     
 
  How to Measure the Effectiveness of Brainstorming Sessions?
Time and time again research shows that in general...
     
 
  Use Six Thinking Hats to Structure Brainstorming Sessions
I suggest using the  
   
 
  Brainstorming: an Outlet for Hidden Ideas and Submerged Suggestions
Brainstorming is a platform for free suggestions a...
     
 
  Suggestion Boxes | Suggestion Schemes
I view brainstorming as a collection of 'suggestio...
     
 
  Meeting Types: Proposing Something New or Building on Another Idea?
There’s a relationship between two initiating b...
     
 
  The Paradox of Brainstorming
Sadly, in most organisations that I have consulted...
     
 
  Network Brainstorming (via Internet)
Network brainstorming (on the Internet) (electr...
     
 
  Brainstorming Outcome: the Next Step
Brainstorming is a creative strategy where individ...
     
 
  Use Brainstorming as a New Leader
I used brainstorming sessions to generate ideas an...
     
 
  Brainstorming - Dealing with Excess of Information
My latest brainstorming meetings for SWOT analysis...
     
 
  Outsourcing Brainstorming
Here is a new tool for your team: get ideas in ti...
     
 
  Branstorming session - No more Purpose - Time to stop.
A brainstroming session serves no more purpose whe...
     
 
  Combine Brainstorming with Cause and Effect Diagram (Ishikawa)
I find that combining Brainstorming with a
     
 

Brainstorming Special Interest Group


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Brainstorming Education & Events


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Best Practices - Brainstorming Premium
  Examples of Ground Rules. Tips for Facilitators
What are Ground Rules?
When you're goi...
     
 
  Start Brainstorming Process Individually, Then Move to Group Process
When people work as a group to brainstorm it limit...
     
 
  Store your Brainstorming Ideas - They May be of Use Later
During brainstorming sessions, varied thoughts com...
     
 
  Do a Brainstorm Session to Make (or Prepare for) Major Decisions
It is adviseable to conduct a branstorm session be...
     
 
  Conditions for Brainstorming
A good brainstorming session is possible only if a...
     
 

Expert Tips - Brainstorming Premium
 

What to do if your Brainstorm Process Got Stuck?

Also refered to as: 'Negative Brainstorming'. You ...
Usage (application): Brainstorming session did not provided enough good ideas…
 
 
 

Variations of Brainstorming

* Brainwri...
Usage (application): Creative thinking, Decision-making, Brainwriting, Nominal Group Technique, Group Passing Technique, Team Idea Mapping
 
 
 

The Advantages of Group Decision-Making

The benefits of group decision-making inclu...
Usage (application): Group Decision-Making
 
 
 

Evaluating Ideas

Princeton Creativity Research has developed the fo...
Usage (application): Checklist to Evaluate Ideas
 
 
 

The Disadvantages of Group Decision-Making

The drawbacks of group decision-making incl...
Usage (application): Group Decision-Making
 
 
 

Determining the Relevance of Ideas

When you need to distinguish what is relevant f...
Usage (application): Brainstorming
 
 
 

Increasing the Quality of the Ideas in Brainstorming

In order to generate better ideas from your brains...
Usage (application): Better Brainstorming
 
 
 

Advantages of Brainstorming

* Facilitates the generation of innovative ideas a...
Usage (application): Creative thinking, Decision-m.
 
 
 

Problems with Group Brainstorming. Resolutions

Empirical research has shown that group brainstorm...
Usage (application): Group Creative Thinking, Group Brainstorming, Group Decision-making
 
 
 

Brainstorming Sensitive Issues / Brainstorming Avoiding Groupthink

Cardstorming is a creativity tool, similar ...
Usage (application): Brainstorming Variants, Brainstorming
 
 
 

Affinity Diagram Technique

Affinity diagrams offer a special way of st...
Usage (application): Structuring Brainstorming
 
 
 

Disadvantages of Brainstorming

* Very dependent on the contribution of the partic...
Usage (application): Creative thinking, Decision-m.
 
 
 

The Role of Diversity in Personal Traits on Innovation and Innovativeness

New research by Hewlett, Marshall and Sherbin prov...
Usage (application): Innovation, Increasing Organizational Innovativeness
 
 

Resources - Brainstorming Premium

Brainstorming: a Creative Problem Solving Instrument

Clear presentation about the concept of Brainstorm...
Usage (application): Teaching Brainstorming, Conducting a Brainstorm Session
 

Creative Thinking Techniques and Creative Problem Solving Methodologies

This presentation elaborates on the concept of cre...
Usage (application): Creativity, Innovation Management
 

Generating Ideas: Concept Generation Methods

This presentation about idea generation provides ...
Usage (application): Idea Generation, Brainstorming, 6-3-5 Method, Brain-writing, Theory of Incentive Problem Solving, TIPS, TRIZ
 

Individual Decision Making and Group Decision Making

Presentation about Decision Making by groups and i...
Usage (application): Decision Making Process, Groupthink, Decision Making Styles, Vroom-Yetton Method
 

Increasing Group Participation: The 3 I's of Participation

Steve Davis explains his model to increase Group P...
Usage (application): Increase Participation in Groups (Workshops, Trainings, Project Teams)
 

Brainstorming Diagram

Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic...
Usage (application): Brainstorming
 
 

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Compare:  Groupthink  |  Spiral of Silence  |  Cause and Effect Diagram  |  Mind Mapping  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Belbin Team Roles  |  Metaplan  |  Stage-Gate  |  Scenario Planning  |  Game Theory  |  Root Cause Analysis  |  Dialectical Inquiry  |  Analogical Strategic Reasoning  |  Theory of Constraints  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Catalytic Mechanisms  |  Johari Window  |  Delphi Method  |  Pyramid Principle  |  Value Engineering


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