I came across a post that caught my attention on another blog called RIP to traditional brainstorming sessions? This post presented a summary of another blogger’s rant on brainstorming. Here is the link to the original post (I warn you there is some offensive language).
The point of the original post is that brainstorming is not effective for a variety of reasons. This is a common misconception, and it is often true. However, if done properly, barnstorming is one of the greatest tools of innovation. Keep reading for my effective brainstorming tips…
Here are some effective brainstorming tips:
1. You need a good leader. They have to be able to move things along, make participants feel safe, and moderate the pace of discussion.
2. Realize that the ideas are not the main point. If all you are doing is coming up with ideas later to vote for the best one, then don’t bother. You are coming up with ideas to see what they tell you about the problem. Ask why is this idea here? What is it trying to solve? When you know all the elements of the problem, you can find the right solution.
3. Crazy suggestions are essential. These reveal the most important aspects of the problem that if solved will move a good idea into a whole new class. Again ask, why was this suggested? What is it getting at? Later you can determine a valid way to solve this part of the problem.
4. Mix it up. Work as a big group, in little groups, and as individuals. Different people will work better in different situations. Also different aspects of the problem will be better handled in various size groups.
5. Expand, Synthesize, and Focus. You need to expand your list of ideas, and then periodically synthesize what you know. Finally you have to be able to focus your efforts by narrowing down toward the root problem.