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Brainstorm Method

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Brainstorming


Summary of the Brainstorm Method. Abstract

 

The 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 it is that a group of people can achieve a higher (synergy) level of creativity than the sum of the participants separately.


Three main rules for a successful brainstorm session are:

1. Participants should be encouraged to come up with a much ideas as possible, however wild they are (there are no bad ideas),

2. No judgment should be passed on any idea until the end of the session (whether negative or positive), and

3. Participants should be encouraged to build on each others ideas, creating unlikely combinations and taking each one in unexpected directions.


Some additional tips for a successful brainstorm session are:

- Use an experienced (external?) facilitator

- Identify a precise topic to be discussed

- No more than 8-10 people in one session, if there are more participants split up the brainstorm and report back to each other afterwards

- Make somebody write everything down

- Evaluate the ideas in 2 steps: A. define the criteria B. score the results on the criteria

- At the end of the B session, discuss the steps needed to implement the ideas. If this is complicated, do another brainstorming session on how to implement the ideas.


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 -


Compare with Brainstorming:  Groupthink  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Scenario Planning  |  Game Theory  |  Root Cause Analysis  |  Dialectical Inquiry  |  Theory of Constraints  |  Force Field Analysis

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