BRAINSTORMING: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Brainstorming isn’t thinking…. it’s conversations between you and your best. ~ Lipi Gupta

Brainstorming is a group process used to obtain a large number of ideas in a short time.  The process encourages divergent thinking among group members, by inviting them to suspend judgement thereby encourage them to “free-wheel” or let themselves go, to think of as many ideas as possible and to build on the basis of others.  This is a valuable tool for generating creative ideas.

Introduce the Process

Using the description given, explain the brainstorming approach to the group.  If this approach is new to the group you may find it useful to undertake a practice exercise. 

Appoint someone to record the ideas and

contributions

All ideas and suggestions must be numbered and written down.  These numbers later facilitate ease of reference for participants.

By having someone else record contributions, you are free to lead the process.

Present Guidelines for Brainstorming

Following the “warm-up” exercise, state the four guidelines for effective brainstorming:

  • Suspend judgement (have an open mind)
  • Freewheel (let yourself go)
  • Encourage quantity (all ideas are accepted)
  • Cross-fertilise (build on the ideas of others)

State (and restate) the problem

Make certain that the group has a clear understanding of the problem being brainstormed.  If necessary, spend some time talking about the problem as you see it and encourage the views of others.

There are many ways of viewing the problem and members should be encouraged to see the problem from different perspectives.

Group the ideas

The ideas will form into three groups:

  • The impossible: those about which every little can be done;
  • The unlikely: those with little hope of implementation but which cannot be ruled out completely at this stage;
  • The possible: those you can address and which can be given immediate attention.

Prioritise

When you have identified the “possibles” and eliminated the “unlikelies” you can now prioritise the ideas and develop an action plan.