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Brainstorming: Generating Many Radical, Creative Ideas

Brainstorming

It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can spark even more ideas. 

This helps to get people unstuck by "jolting" them out of their normal ways of thinking.

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Brainstorming: Generating Many Radical, Creative Ideas

Brainstorming: Generating Many Radical, Creative Ideas

https://www.mindtools.com/brainstm.html

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

Brainstorming for problem solving

  • It brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions.
  • It can help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. 
  • It helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.

Why individual brainstorming might bring better results

  • groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviors creep in
  • people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. 

On your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative.

Individual vs. group brainstorming

  • Individual brainstorming is most effective when you need to solve a simple problem, generate a list of ideas, or focus on a broad issue. 
  • Group brainstorming is often more effective for solving complex problems.

Advantages of group brainstorming

  • You can take advantage of the full experience and creativity of all team members
  • When one member gets stuck with an idea, another member's creativity and experience can take the idea to the next stage. 
  • It helps everyone feel that they've contributed to the solution.
  • Great teambuilding exercise.

To run a group brainstorming session:

  1. Prepare the Group: set a comfortable meeting environment, consider who will attend the session and how much preparation is necessary in advance.
  2. Present the Problem: clearly define the problem that you want to solve, and lay out any criteria that you must meet. Give people plenty of quiet time at the start of the session, then, ask them to share their ideas.
  3. Guide the Discussion: encourage everyone to contribute and to develop ideas, including the quietest people, and discourage anyone from criticizing ideas.

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A brief overview of brainstorming

The brainstorming process was popularized in the 1950s by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive at Barton, Batton, Durstine, & Osborn (BBDO).

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Principles of brainstorming
  • Generate as many ideas as possible. For the purposes of this exercise, quantity is more important than quality.
  • Don’t judge any ideas until the session is over. People will hold back if they think they may be judged negatively.
  • Encourage people to think outside of the box. Although wild ideas may not be feasible, they steer the conversation in new directions.
  • Combine ideas. Encouraging people to build off one another makes it easier for them to contribute and boosts team morale.
Work alone—together

Give people time to think by themselves prior to the brainstorm, so everyone has a chance to take his or her thought process in a unique direction.

A potential consequence of brainstorming is convergent thinking: the tendency for individuals’ ideas to become increasingly similar over the course of a brainstorming session.

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Restrict yourself

Research suggests placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity. 

It forces your brain to come up with creative solutions to finish a project around the parameters you’ve ...

Re-conceptualize the problem

Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.

If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.

For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”

Create psychological distance

Creating “psychological” distance may be useful for breaking through a creative block.

Try to imagine your creative task as being disconnected and distant from your current position/location - this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking.

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The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
  • Defer judgment (don’t get upset when people say bad ideas).
  • Reach for quantity (come up with as many ideas as possible).
Obstacles to an effective brainstorming:
  • Fear of judgment from people in positions of power;
  • Extroverts take center stage;
  • Groups hate scary ideas, even it they're great ones;
Steps of the creative process
  1. Preparation: individual study to focus your mind on the problem;
  2. Incubation: the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally;
  3. Intimation: you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way;
  4. Illumination: your creative idea moves to conscious awareness;
  5. Verification: your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed.