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Brainstorming techniques

What is Brainstorming?

The basic idea behind brainstorming is to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of
ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s).
In other words, brainstorming is a situation where a group of people meet to
generate new ideas and solutions around a specific domain of interest by removing inhibitions
These meetings are used for solving a process problem,
inventing new products or product innovation, solving inter-group communication problems, improving customer service,
budgeting exercises, project scheduling, etc.
Does brainstorming work ?

Well , some people might say Individual creativity is higher than group creativity but this critiscm of brainstorming is there as people only look at the number of ideas generated and not on other effects which include:

(1) supporting the organizational memory of design solutions
(2) providing skill variety for designers
(3) supporting an attitude of wisdom (acting with knowledge while doubting what one knows)
(4) creating a status auction (a competition for status based on technical skill)
(5) impressing clients
There are short comings to brainstorming but Yes, brain storming does work if done properly.
What are the various techniques of brainstorming?

1)Nominal group technique:In this technique Participants are asked to write their ideas anonymously. Then the facilitator collects the ideas and the group votes on each idea. The vote can be as simple as a show of hands in favor of a given idea. This process is called distillation.

2)Group passing technique:In this technique Each person in a circular group writes down one idea, and then passes the piece of paper to the next person, who adds some thoughts. This continues until everybody gets his or her original piece of paper back. By this time, it is likely that the group will have extensively elaborated on each idea.

3)Team idea mapping method:This method of brainstorming works by the method of association. It may improve collaboration and increase the quantity of ideas, and is designed so that all attendees participate and no ideas are rejected.

4)Directed brainstorming:Directed brainstorming is a variation of electronic brainstorming (described below). It can be done manually or with computers. Directed brainstorming works when the solution space (that is, the set of criteria for evaluating a good idea) is known prior to the session.
There are many other techniques as well. Most important thing is you have to decide which technique is most suitable for your team.
How to do effective brainstorming?

If not done in proper manner sometimes brainstorming session can turn into disaster.
So following are some rules which one can follow to make the brainstorming sessions effective:
Attendance of all team members is expected

1)Start and end the sessions on time

2)Everyone is of equal rank while in the session

3)Team member comments will be kept confidential

4)Deal with issues, not personalities

5)Everyone participates, no side conversations

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