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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It’s important to clearly define the goals of your brainstorming session. Because as a brainstorming session goes on, the ideas tend to get less feasible and more original.
So if you’re looking for something that falls in line with what you’re already doing, you can keep your sessions short and sweet. And if you’re looking for something that you’ve never done before, you should aim for relatively long brainstorms.
The brainstorming process was popularized in the 1950s by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive at Barton, Batton, Durstine, & Osborn (BBDO).
Frustrated by his employees’ inability to come up with good campaign ideas on their own, Osborn started to experiment with different collaborative exercises.
A brainstorming session is far more effective when the participants are familiar with each other.
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.
While group brainstorming is often more effective at generating ideas than normal group problem solving, several studies have shown that individual brainstorming produces more – and often better – ideas than group brainstorming.
Individual brainstorming can produce better ideas because you're less likely to run into counter-productive behaviors.
However, the best brainstorming takes advantage of both individual and group work.
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