It is a technique used for problem-solving, team-building and creative process. It is a way to generate ideas within a group. Generally used at the beginning stages of a project, where the requirements of the project are not clearly understood or defined. It provides a quick means for tapping the creativity of a limited number of people for a large number of ideas. In this session, all contributions are valid, and the key to a successful session is to share as many ideas as possible without evaluating them.
Benefits: – Powerful technique; creates new ideas, solves problems, motivates and develops teams. It motivates because it involves members of a team in bigger management issues, and it gets a team work. It is not random activity, it needs to be structured and it should follow some rules. The first is that creative team brainstorming improves critical thinking and problem solving skills as an individual and a team.
Structure:- Ensure everyone participating in the brainstorm session understands the objective of the session Keep the brainstorming objective simple. Allocate a time limit. Avoid diverting from the core Topic. If diverted, get them back into the topic and discuss on the topic.
Manage: – Encourage people to share their ideas and evaluate those ideas. It enables people to suggest ideas at random. Your job as facilitator is to encourage everyone to participate, to dismiss nothing. During the random collection of ideas the facilitator must record every suggestion. With the group, assess, evaluate and analyse the effects and validity of the ideas or the list.
Implement the actions: – Agree what the next actions will be. Agree a timescale, who’s responsible. After the session circulate notes, monitor and give feedback. It’s crucial to develop a clear and positive outcome, so that people feel their effort and contribution was worthwhile. When people view their efforts have resulted in action and change, they will be motivated & keen to help again.
Steps: – The following are the steps for an effective brainstorming.
- Define Objective
- Ideas and suggestions should be agreed within a time
- Categorise ideas
- Assess and check for the effect
- Prioritise ideas
- Give ranking for the ideas
- Plan and time scale of ideas
- Control and monitor flow
Techniques of Brainstorming:-
Nominal group technique: – Participants are asked to write their views on the topic, after collecting everyone’s opinion rank the ideas accordingly. This is called distillation.
After distillation, the top ranked ideas may be sent back to the group or to subgroups for further brainstorming. Sometimes ideas that were previously dropped may be brought forward again once the group has re-evaluated the ideas.
Group passing technique: – In this technique group will be in a circular form and each person in the group write their idea on a paper and pass it to the next person so that the next person will idea their idea to it, it will continue till the person get their own paper. By the end of the session everyone will have their own idea with improvement and finally one idea will be selected on a whole.
Team idea mapping method: – It is one by association. It may improve collaboration and increase the quantity of ideas, and is designed so that all attendees participate and no ideas are rejected.
It will start with a well-defined topic. Each participant brainstorms individually, then all the ideas are merged onto one large idea map. During this consolidation phase, participants may discover a common understanding of the issues as they share the meanings behind their ideas. During this sharing, new ideas may arise by the association, and they are added to the map as well. Once all the ideas are captured, the group can prioritize and/or take action.
Guided: – In this technique time will be allocated along with the topic to avoid conflicts over the ideas. Team should come up with the idea by the end of the time. Here idea will be supportive and end up with a team work.
Individual: – It will be done using techniques as free writing, free speaking, word association, and drawing a mind map, which is a visual note taking technique in which people diagram their thoughts. Individual brainstorming is a useful method in creative writing and has been shown to be superior to traditional group brainstorming.
Question: – It is a new way of brainstorming where the team will be allocated with a structured set of questions; here ideas will be taken by the answers provided by them. In this process no need of sharing their opinions among the team. Solution will be done based on their answers. Once the questionnaire is ready the questions will be placed in an order to get a proper solution.
Electronic: – The brainstorming will be done through online technologies available, such as email or interactive web sites.
Conclusion: – Elicitation of ideas from a group of people. Used in a structured way, this technique can be highly effective way of moving participants out of conflict and towards consensus. Brainstorming is founded on the principle that the quantity of ideas increases their quality.