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Techniques for improving the Creative Process : neven

1- Brainstorming is a process in which a small group of


people interact, with very little structure, with the goal of
producing a large quantity of novel and imaginative ideas. For
a brainstorming session to be successful, an entrepreneur
should follow these guidelines:

1. keep the group smallfive to eight members


2. company rank and department affiliation are
irrelevant
3. have a well-defined problem to address
4. limit the session to 40 to 60 minutes
5. appoint someone the job of recorder
6. use a seating pattern that encourages
communication
7. encourage all ideas from the team, even wild and
extreme ones
8. establish a goal of quantity of ideas rather than
quality
9. forbid evaluation or criticism
10. encourage idea hitch-hiking

2- Mind-mapping is an extension of brainstorming. It is a


graphical technique that encourages thinking on both sides of
the brain, visually displays the various relationships between
ideas, and improves the ability to view the problem from many
sides. It relates to the way the brain actually works. Rather
than throwing out ideas in a linear fashion, the brain jumps
from one idea to another. In many creative sessions, ideas
are rushing out so fast that many are lost if a person attempts
to shove them into a linear outline.

The Mind-mapping Process works this way:


1. sketch a picture symbolizing the problem
2. write down every idea that comes to your mind use
key words and symbols
3. when idea flow starts to trickle, stop
4. allow your mind to rest a few minutes
Brainstorming

Another Definition

Brainstorming is a technique for generating ideas, developing


creativity, or problem solving, in small groups, through the free-
flowing contributions of participants. Several variations of
brainstorming and related techniques have emerged, such as brain
writing, where ideas are written down by individuals, nominal group
technique, electronic brainstorming, and buzz groups.

Advantages

* Numerous fresh ideas and concepts are rapidly generated.

* It enables people to be involved and make a positive contribution.

* The cost of the process--in terms of people and time--is


quantifiable.

Problems

* The session can be dictated or sidetracked by dominant


individuals.

* Getting people to be non-critical can be a problem.

These problems can be overcome by a good facilitator.

Action checklist--Preparation

1. Select the problem / opportunity to be brainstormed Select an


item important enough to justify the participation of others. It
should also be one where there are a number of possible solutions
and imagination is required to think of them.
2. Think of structure, aims and objectives Although a brainstorming
session is an open, 'no-holds- barred' affair, establish where you
are going, what you want to achieve and roughly how to get there

3. Choose the Facilitator ... ... an open, outgoing person with


enthusiasm and ability, contributing interest and enjoyment.
Choosing the right facilitator is vital. (S)he need not be the most
senior person at the session, but will need to set the scene by
relaxing the participants and creating an open, free atmosphere,
controlling dominant people, getting and keeping them on track by
highlighting the issues, and creating a sense of fun. Perhaps most
importantly, (s)he should be adept at keeping ideas flowing. Should
the facilitator be internal or external? An external facilitator can be
especially useful when senior managers are involved, but if the
issue is not too complex or contentious, an internal facilitator may
be used provided (s)he has some experience. The facilitator
should feel comfortable running activity-based sessions, and
should have clear plans and tactics for arriving at expected
outcomes or targets. The facilitator must also ensure, as much as
possible, that the group works as a team and owns what it has
achieved at the end.

4. Select an appropriate venue This depends largely on the time


set aside for the session. If time is available then somewhere away
from the routine place of work is often more suitable. This gets
people away from 'contemplating their corporate navel' and is often
better for a fresh perspective on the business in hand.

5. Think of the group mix As well as those with a specialist


contribution to make include those who have little or no knowledge
of the problem to be brainstormed. They will not be concerned with
detail and will offer a fresh approach. Consider the introduction of
outsiders for this, although it can backfire if they are seen as
intruders or spies. Work on getting the group dynamics right for
putting the group at ease, avoidance of snide or putdown
comments and creating a 'free-from-blame' atmosphere. All
participants are equal and none are more equal than others.
6. Think of the right number There is no right number, although
more than 10 might be unmanageable when ideas really start to
flow, and less than five might not be enough for generating
creativity. Six to eight is usually about right, although this will
depend on the style of the facilitator and the nature of the problem
to be tackled.

7. Get the equipment right You will need to record the ideas that
come up. A tape-recorder smacks of 'big brother' and may well act
as an inhibitor to the free flow of ideas. Get hold of a flip-chart--
with plenty of sheets and plenty of marker pens that work!--so that
successive sheets can be blu-tacked to the wall in full view and
therefore help to stimulate further ideas.

8. Get the layout right Do not use a room with fixed rows of seats.
Something more relaxed, even random, is preferable; a circle or U-
shape is fairly usual. If the facilitator is not familiar with the room to
be used, (s)he should check it beforehand and prepare it
appropriately.

9. Get the timing right Think of your own powers of concentration


and remember that brainstorming of ideas can go from dynamic to
exhausted, and back again. 10-20 minutes may be needed to get
people relaxed; two hours can be a long time to brainstorm--stop
for a break if people show signs of tiredness. Arrange for a 20-
minute break after an hour's uninterrupted flow, or if and when the
flow slows to a trickle. The break may be enough to stimulate an
active re-start, perhaps with a change in seating of individuals.

10. Get the time of day right Unfortunately hard advice is difficult
here as we are all different. Some people are better when their
mind is less active and more relaxed and when their routine work
has been dispensed with. Others may prefer the morning when
collective mental energy is at its highest, or at least not dulled by
the day's toil. Provide sufficient notice of the session, and an
outline of the problem to be tackled.
Action checklist--The session

1. State the problem / objective

State the problem and explain it to the group. Make sure everyone
participating has a clear understanding.

2. Restate the problem

Encourage the group to stand back from the problem, walk around
it, and see it from every angle. Suggest re-wording it in 'How to'
statements. Some restatements may be close to the original,
others may illuminate new facets. Jot down the restatements on
the flip-chart for all to see.

3. Brainstorm the problem with the following guidelines:

a) Suspend judgement: avoid evaluative comments such as 'that


won't work' or 'that sounds silly'. Laugh with wild ideas, not at
them.

b) Use the following techniques for generating further ideas.

* Call for a one-minute break, asking the group to look over ideas
already noted before starting the flow again.

* Offer a target: e.g. 'we just need six more to make 50 ideas!'

* Reflect and concentrate on one idea, e.g. how many ways can
we do this?

* Look back at the re-statements to pursue other lines.

c) Freewheel: encourage (within limits) drifting or dreaming; try to


bring the subconscious into play; the wilder the idea, the better.
d) Go for quantity not quality--the more the merrier; suspend
judgement, evaluation comes later.

e) Cross-fertilize: pick up somebody's idea and suggest others


leading from it.

4. Ask the group to choose a really wild and apparently senseless


idea from the lists marked up and generate ideas from there.

5. Closure

Give a warning of when the session will close about five minutes
from the end. Participants will want to know what happens next.
Explain that the lists will be typed up for circulation and do this
within 24 hours to retain freshness and familiarity. Tell the
participants that they will be informed on the ideas chosen for
further action or recommendation. Ask them one last time for any
comments, ideas or further thinking.

Action checklist--Evaluation

1. Get the team to scrutinize all the ideas to pick out any instant
winners. Rank ideas giving 3 points for those which stand out, 2 for
those which have possibilities and Zero for those which appear
unsound, require too many resources, or do not meet the original
objectives.

2. Reduce the number of '2s ' to a minimum, apply such criteria as


cost, acceptability or time-scales

3. Use reverse brainstorming

* In how many ways can a particular idea fail?

* What are the negative factors?

* What is the potential downside for the organisation?


4. Apply the key evaluative criteria

* What will it cost?

* Will it be acceptable to management, staff, and customers?

* Is it legal?

* Is it practical?

* How long will it take?

* What competition will there be?

* How urgent is it? (If it is not done now, will an opportunity be


lost?)

Dos and don'ts for Brainstorming

Do

* be sensitive to participants' tiredness

* encourage freedom of movement--some people think better


when mobile

* use a variety of techniques to generate further ideas

* encourage an informal atmosphere free from blame or inhibition.

Don't

* let the session go on too long

* allow interruptions

* use a tape-recorder
* allow critical or evaluative comments

* allow the session to become too 'off-the-wall'!

Brain Storming Techniques

When faced with the need to generate perfect solutions, follow


these brain storming techniques to create sessions that produce
results:

Plan the meeting giving specific information. Offer specific


information when sending out notices or contacting people for
meetings. This will create a brief idea of what the meeting will be
about while creating a focus point. This means that each person
will come to the meeting focused on creating solutions.

Invite a wide variety of people. It is wise to contact a variety of


people and ask them to attend the meeting. This will ensure that
you have backgrounds in different fields of work or experience. You
will have views from several different backgrounds giving a good
flow of ideas to the meeting. Avoid mixing management levels.
Mid-management and executives may offer ideas and expertise for
the sake of impressing each other rather than adding valuable
information to the meeting.

The rules of brainstorming: Give all attendees a list of rules for


the brain storming techniques session. These rules could include
the following:

* Do not criticize other's ideas

* All types of ideas are accepted

* Give as many ideas as possible

* Consider ideas that have been given and build on them


Keep the brainstorming session short. Do not let the session go
any longer than half an hour, as it may halt the brainstorming
process. If you have ideas and information at that point, perfect. If
not, let all those that have attended know there will be another
meeting. The mind works in mysterious ways, by everyone thinking
about the next meeting, the flow of ideas will continue. These ideas
could come to them at any time between this meeting and the
next.

Eliminate killer phrases. An important brain storming technique is


to let everyone know at the beginning of the meeting that using
killer phrases, which refer to negative phrases, will not be
tolerated. Ensure the flow of the meeting is going in a positive
direction. Stop killer phrases in their tracks reminding everyone to
keep the meeting positive with positive ideas and thoughts.

Create teams. If there is a large amount of people attending the


meeting, break them up into small teams, as people generally tend
to work better this way. When people work in small groups,
everyone becomes informal, which creates positive ideas. This is
another important feature of brain storming techniques.

Keep the question in view. Use a board to write down the


question that is the focus of the meeting and make sure everyone
in the meeting can see it. Make sure to save the questions and all
ideas for the next meeting.

Keep the idea flow running. As part of effective brain storming


techniques if to make sure that if you feel everyone is winding
down on thoughts and ideas, try pumping them back up by
rereading some of the ideas given. If you have your own ideas,
save them for moments like this. Ask questions about what has
already been given, like asking for the reason behind the idea.

When looking to incorporate any types of brainstorm techniques,


try to follow that same process of letting your mind flow as you
would your thoughts. This allows for unrestricted and uninhibited
thought processes.
When brainstorming by yourself, use brainstorm techniques like
free writing. Free writing let's you go with the flow of your natural
thought process. Just sit down with a blank piece of paper and
start writing every thought that comes into your brain whether it is
related to the problem or not. Don't worry about how something
sounds or looks, or if it's even spelled correctly. You can set a time
limit with this brainstorm technique. When the time is up, get up
and take a walk or lie down and relax to clear your head. After a
few hours, go read over what you wrote and pick out the ideas.
Most often when this technique is used, additional thoughts and
ideas continue to flow while you're relaxing. You may even come
up with the solution while you are asleep.

When brainstorming with a small group of people, use word


association as one of your brainstorm techniques. This
technique uses various words and phrases to describe an item,
question or idea. Make a list for each word or phrase given by
the group. After you have made a few lists, pick one or two
words from each list and use them to form questions or to
brainstorm more ideas.

Paradoxical Intention is one of the more unusual brainstorm


techniques. Instead of brainstorming for ideas, the group does the
opposite. Instead of brainstorming ideas, the group comes up with
ways to make the problem or situation worse. By performing this
type of technique, the idea flow turns an idea of how to make a
problem worse into the solution to make the problem better or how
to resolve it.

Facilitators of a brainstorming session should always have ideas of


their own to present at various times throughout the session. When
the facilitator sees the group is "running out of steam", that is the
time for them to jump in with ideas of their own. This is one of the
brainstorm techniques used in order to motivate people to start the
ideas flowing again.
There should always be one person designated in a brainstorming
session to take notes of all ideas, thoughts and additional
information. These notes should be presented as an overview to
each participant.

A facilitator should never let anyone in the session be critical of


another participant's idea. Whenever an idea is presented, to hear
someone say something critical such as "that will never work" or
"we've tried that in the past", is sure to kill the positive flow of the
session. Not using "killer phrases" is one of the first rules of
brainstorm techniques.

Most brainstorming sessions get a bit out of control, and that's ok.
That just means the creative flow is getting faster. Thoughts are
coming faster, producing more and more ideas to solve the
problem.

When faced with the need to generate perfect solutions, follow


these brainstorming techniques to create sessions that produce
results:

Plan the meeting giving specific information. Offer specific


information when sending out notices or contacting people for
meetings. This is a type of brainstorming techniques which will
create a brief idea of what the meeting will be about while creating
a focus point. This means that each person will come to the
meeting focused on creating solutions.

Invite a wide variety of people. It is wise to contact a variety of


people and ask them to attend the meeting. These brainstorming
techniques will ensure that you have backgrounds in different fields
of work or experience. You will have views from several different
backgrounds giving a good flow of ideas to the meeting. Avoid
mixing management levels. Mid-management and executives may
offer ideas and expertise for the sake of impressing each other
rather than adding valuable information to the meeting.

Brainstorming Activities
Sometimes during a brainstorming session, the group starts to run
down. When the group runs down, the ideas stop flowing.
Brainstorming activities can be used to clear the mind and start the
idea process flowing again.

One of the brainstorming activities used quite frequently is called


"Night and Day". You give the participants a set of words and ask
them to write the several words that are opposite of that word. For
example, the word "night" would be the opposite of "day, sun,
awake". Give the participants approximately 15 minutes to
complete this activity. This is used to get the mind flowing in the
right direction.

Brainstorming activities such as "What Can You See", is where


you show the group 3 different shapes in three different colors and
ask them to write down what they see. For example, show the
group a red square, blue circle and yellow triangle. It's
interesting the different answers you will get, such as a triangle
that looks like a road hazard sign. This tells you the creative
juices are starting to flow for that participant. Instead of saying a
yellow triangle, the participant got creative. This lets you see
exactly where the groups mind set is and what it may take to get
the ideas flowing.

Use brainstorming activities such as "Whose Line Is It Anyway".


No, not the TV show, but an activity that is similar to it. Bring a few
props into the room and put them in the center for the group to
focus on. For example, a belt, post it notes and a paper clip. Ask
each participant what each one could be used for. You may get a
participant that has their creativity in gear and say the belt is a
head band for a martial arts instructor.

These three brainstorming activities are just an example of several


activities you can create to get the brainstorming session off to a
good start. Some people are very creative, but their day to day life
does not give them the opportunity to use it. Most office workers do
not get the chance to suggest ideas as to how to improve a
product or service offered by their company. That job is usually left
to the marketing departments.
The best brainstorming session can come from people who have
never had the opportunity to open up their creative flow and have
them participate in a brainstorming session. By using people like
this, it can create a bond between the participants since the whole
brainstorming idea is a new concept to all of them. Use these
brainstorming activities to get the creative juices flowing then
present the problem to be solved; or, you could get your own
creative juices flowing by inventing new brainstorming activities. If
you would use new and different people for each brainstorming
session, you would have a continual flow of unique ideas to solve
a problem. Each session would be a unique experience both to the
facilitator and the group.

Brainstorming Innovation

There is a constant need for brainstorming innovation. You have to


be creative with brainstorming sessions. Keep the groups on their
toes and motivated to create a good positive flow of ideas.

Brainstorming innovation will keep you away from making deadly


mistakes in a brainstorming session.

Are you in a rut on planning your brainstorming sessions?


There are several techniques to brainstorming. If you
continually use one method, you are sure to kill brainstorming
innovation.

Do not let the group be run by members who think they know
everything. These types of members make the rest of the group
feel uncomfortable and insecure, as if any idea they offer is going
to be shot down. It is an absolute must that the group stays
positive with creative ways for new ideas.

You are the only source for the constant flow of new techniques
and methods for your group. Get your own flow of creativity going
and come up with ways to use new techniques to improve ideas
for solutions.

The brainstorming session is going great. There is a good positive


flow of ideas, then all of a sudden, the session is over and nothing
was accomplished. Once you have the ideas, immediately get to
evaluating and putting these ideas into action.

Brainstorming innovation means break out of the mold. Take risks


and invite failure. After all, in order to be successful you have to
make a few mistakes.

Brainstorming sessions must have a leader that is skilled in


brainstorming and techniques. If you are not skilled and
experienced in these techniques, you are going to have
brainstorming chaos, not a session. Be innovative; if you are the
boss do not be the session leader. Put someone else in that
position. Let the group members all be able to participate rather
than being intimidated by "the boss" running the brainstorming
session.

Stay innovative, stay fresh and use new techniques. Do not


constantly look back using what was successful in the past. There
are tons of tools, techniques, tips and tricks for brainstorming
innovation. Make the brainstorming sessions fun and different, do
not let the members get sick and tired of the sessions.

The one main thing that stifles brainstorming innovation is fear.


The fear that an idea will cause change. The fear that another
group member's idea might be better. Fear can be a powerful force
if you let it. By getting rid of all the fears, you as the leader are
giving confidence to the group. Confidence equals creativity.

Every brainstorming session should be different from the last. No


two should be alike. A group leader needs to tap from the fountain
of brainstorming innovation. Learn from a skilled facilitator by
sitting in on a few brainstorming sessions that facilitator is leading.
Take notes and jot down all the ideas that come into your head.
After the session, reread your notes and have an individual
brainstorming session. Do not just "go with the flow", be the one to
create the flow.

Group Brainstorming Techniques


When looking to incorporate any types of group brainstorming
techniques, try to follow that same process of letting your mind
flow as you would your thoughts. This allows for unrestricted and
uninhibited thought processes.

When brainstorming by yourself, use similar group brainstorming


techniques, similar to free writing. Free writing let's you go with the
flow of your natural thought process. Just sit down with a blank
piece of paper and start writing every thought that comes into your
brain whether it is related to the problem or not. Don't worry about
how something sounds or looks, or if it's even spelled correctly.
You can set a time limit with this brainstorm technique. When the
time is up, get up and take a walk or lie down and relax to clear
your head. After a few hours, go read over what you wrote and
pick out the ideas. Most often when this technique is used,
additional thoughts and ideas continue to flow while you're
relaxing. You may even come up with the solution while you are
asleep.

When brainstorming with a small group of people, use word


association as one of your group brainstorming techniques. This
technique uses various words and phrases to describe an item,
question or idea. Make a list for each word or phrase given by
the group. After you have made a few lists, pick one or two
words from each list and use them to form questions or to
brainstorm more ideas.

Paradoxical Intention is one of the more unusual group


brainstorming techniques. Instead of brainstorming for ideas, the
group does the opposite. Instead of brainstorming ideas, the group
comes up with ways to make the problem or situation worse. By
performing this type of technique, the idea flow turns an idea of
how to make a problem worse into the solution to make the
problem better or how to resolve it.

Facilitators of a brainstorming session should always have ideas of


their own to present at various times throughout the session. When
the facilitator sees the group is "running out of steam", that is the
time for them to jump in with ideas of their own. This is one of the
group brainstorming techniques used in order to motivate people
to start the ideas flowing again.

There should always be one person designated in a brainstorming


session to take notes of all ideas, thoughts and additional
information. These notes should be presented as an overview to
each participant.

A facilitator should never let anyone in the session be critical of


another participant's idea. Whenever an idea is presented, to hear
someone say something critical such as "that will never work" or
"we've tried that in the past", is sure to kill the positive flow of the
session. Not using "killer phrases" is one of the first rules of group
brainstorming techniques.

Most brainstorming sessions get a bit out of control, and that's ok.
That just means the creative flow is getting faster. Thoughts are
coming faster, producing more and more ideas to solve the
problem.

Brainstorming Creativity

Brainstorming creativity, when conducting sessions, can keep


every session fresh and creative. The leader must constantly
create ways to get the creative juices flowing of every participant in
every group. Different brainstorming activities, tools and
techniques can all be used to keep the positive flow of ideas
always improving

There are many creative exercises and tools that can be used to
make the processes flow quicker. A new innovative idea in
brainstorming creativity is called ThinkCube. ThinkCube contains
three decks of cards: Idea cards, Word cards and Mutation cards.
Using several cards from each deck, the group can be stimulated
into producing a strong creative process. ThinkCube comes with
an instruction booklet that explains the brainstorming process and
techniques.

Stuff That Matters is unique in brainstorming creativity as it is


geared towards people participating in brainstorming alone. Stuff
That Matters comes in four parts: a workbook containing flip cards,
an Action Acceleration sheet, The Little Green Book and a
website that has additional resources. The Action Acceleration
sheet in combination with the workbook gets the thought
processes flowing by asking a series of questions on how you are
going to "solve the problem." The Little Green Book is the
instruction book with examples on what each section of the
workbook contains.

Inner Vision is a very easy and simple card deck that contains
certain key words to stimulate brainstorming creativity. Every card
has both keywords and phrases that are very diverse and have
been proven to get the creative juices flowing with fresh new ideas.
When using the deck, participants will start the thinking process by
associating how each card applies to the problem to be solved.

There are also several ebooks and brainstorming creativity


software that give many tips, tricks and techniques for
brainstorming sessions.

Paul Sloane, who is an expert facilitator and course leader, has


written several books on creative leadership and brainstorming
sessions. He has also created several brainstorming tools such as
the Cunning Lateral Thinking Puzzle. His book entitled "How to
Generate Ideas: Creative Problem Technologies", is a guide to
generate and evaluate ideas in brainstorming sessions. The book
contains problem solving ideas, how to plan a brainstorming
session and evaluation techniques. You can purchase the book
directly, or download the ebook edition. Another book "The
Innovative Leader: How to Your Inspire Your Team and Drive
Creativity", contains guidance and advice on how to generate
ideas. The book also contains brainstorming creativity tools to
inspire your group to unique and innovative ideas. The book
challenges the minds of brainstorming leaders and their groups on
how to produce results.

Brainstorming group leaders need to be the source of various


ways and ideas which will keep their

groups motivated and inspired to provide a constant flow of new


ideas. In addition to tools, books, and ebooks, there are websites
with articles on how to improve creativity and manage creativity.

Inspiration is the root of all creativity and when the leader is


motivated and inspired they pass that along to their group.

Brainstorming Methods

The group leader or facilitator to motivate groups and get the


positive energy flowing for good ideas uses brainstorming
methods. There are tons of brainstorming methods that used by
thousands of group leaders and facilitators.

Word association is a brainstorming method in which the group


members make lists for words given by the group. After several
lists are made, a few words are picked from the lists to make
questions to brainstorm additional ideas.

Brainstorming methods can be most interesting and unusual also.


For example, group members presenting ideas to make a
problem worse instead of ideas to resolve the problem. This is
known as Paradoxical Intention. The result is a solution to the
problem.

There are brainstorming methods that group leaders or facilitators


create on their own. Ideas are always kept aside and presented at
a time when the group seems to be running out of ideas. The
leader or facilitator then offers their ideas to get the group
motivated again.
Group members brainstorming to present ideas for the rules of
conduct for a brainstorming session. This is one of the more poplar
brainstorming methods. The goal of this method is to make the
group aware of the rules and to take responsibility in enforcing
them.

Making small teams out of a large group makes the members


more comfortable especially the ones that tend to be shy or soft
spoken. Small groups are less intimidating.

Brainstorming methods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For


example, when the leader or facilitator sees the group is "winding
down" they reread all the ideas that have been presented so far.
This often stimulates the group to add on to existing ideas creating
improved ideas.

The use of props is also popular among brainstorming methods.


Props are presented to the group, and then each group member
offers an idea as to how to use the prop. The props could be
anything from household items, pieces of clothing to office
supplies. A belt could be a headband for a samurai warrior. The
objective of this method is to have each group member open their
minds and get the creative juices flowing.

Individuals brainstorming by themselves have a variety of


brainstorming methods at their fingertips. For example, when
students need to write an essay on a particular topic they often are
stumped how to start the essay. A poplar method is to sit down with
a blank sheet of paper and writing everything that comes into your
head whether it is related to the topic or not. As you are writing,
circle anything that pops in your head. This method is usually
timed for approximately 15 minutes, after which the writer would
look at what they wrote and picks out the ideas.

On the list of the more unusual brainstorming methods is called the


Round Robin technique. A group of members calls out one idea at
a time. This method is time for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and
continues around the circle until the time is up.
Brainstorming Tools

Either way you choose the main most important thing is that you
have to produce motivation to the group. It is a difficult task to
manually find motivational tools in one place. This is why
brainstorming tools in software form came along. This gives you all
the brainstorming tools you need in one place. With brainstorming
software, you have one distinct advantage over manual
brainstorming tools and that is true "random" stimulus for the
group.

When a team leader runs any type of brainstorming tools session,


it is only a matter of minutes before they need another
brainstorming technique to get the creative juices flowing in the
group. If you happen to be a team leader that is not, quite as
experienced as a facilitator you now have stalled the brainstorming
session. With brainstorming software, you have everything you
need to create a brainstorming technique right within the software.

Brainstorming sessions could be individual brainstorming


sessions with brainstorming software. The team leader can
install the software on a PC and use it in a brainstorming session.
When the brainstorming session begins, start the software to
provide motivation for a continual flow of ideas from the group.

Team leaders can record the ideas presented on their PC for fast
analysis and a course of action. There is also an option where
team leaders can either print out or email a quick overview of the
session.

Bring an extra monitor to the brainstorming tools session and


either show the group the computer screen or use the motivational
tips yourself to produce effective brainstorming techniques. Team
leaders can also let each member use the software to provide the
motivation they need to set the flow of ideas in motion.

If you are, the type that still prefers to use manual brainstorming
tools..
Random words can be chosen by the team leader to provide the
stimulus the group needs to produce creative ideas. Open up a
dictionary to any spot and point to any word. This brainstorming
technique is equal to what brainstorming software can do
automatically.

Using random pictures is similar to using random words except


you select pictures at random from a magazine.

Create an analogy of another business and look at what their


solutions could be. This will create a consistent flow of
brainstorming tools and ideas.

Go on the internet, use a search engine such as Google or Yahoo,


and use the random search feature to create fresh new ideas.

Create ideas for a problem or situation in the reverse. Instead of


solving the problem, create ideas to make it worse.

Compare the many differences between manual brainstorming


tools and using brainstorming software. You will soon be able to
decide that using brainstorming software is faster, more efficient,
less time consuming and offers more selection for team leaders to
motivate their groups to produce a positive flow of ideas. With
brainstorming, software there is less need for additional
brainstorming sessions since the problem should be resolved in
the first session.

Brainstorming Examples

Brainstorming is not just for the corporate world, it can be used by


anyone for anything. From changing careers to planning a birthday
party. Brainstorming is very effective to get ideas to solve a
problem. Here are a few brainstorming examples. The first one is
an example of a group brainstorming for the company picnic.

First, the committee for the picnic took a survey from coworkers
about what they wanted to have for the company picnic. The most
popular suggestion was to have a theme for the picnic. The picnic
committee already knew what the budget was and how far from
work to have the picnic. Armed with all the supportive information
they needed, the head of the committee requested a brainstorming
session.

In brainstorming examples, a facilitator was used instead of a


group leader from the company. The facilitator brought his
secretary to record all the ideas and notes. The facilitator present
the ground rules to the brainstorming session. A piece of paper
was pinned to the wall with the goal of the session, which was a
theme for the picnic. Two flip charts were used to write down the
ideas so everyone could see them. Then the facilitator started the
brainstorming session.

As the session progressed, the facilitator chose group members


one at a time to present their ideas. When any group member
criticized another group member's ideas, they were quickly
reminded they were breaking the ground rules. More ideas were
presented but a group member elaborating on an idea by giving
details interrupted the flow. The facilitator informed the group
member to save details until the end and quickly moved on to the
next group member.

At the end of the brainstorming session, the facilitator presented all


of the ideas to the group. Each group member went to the flip chart
and made three choices. After the last group member made their
choices, the facilitator reviewed all the choices and chose the top
four. After the choices were presented to the group, each group
member was asked why each of the four choices would be a good
theme for the company picnic. After group members had their turn,
the facilitator presented the suggested theme for the picnic.

The facilitator of this brainstorming session used a variety of


techniques of brainstorming examples. The results were a
combination of an idea with another idea added onto it.

Typical of brainstorming sessions are include other brainstorming


examples. A management team uses a brainstorming session to
get opinions of a drafting strategy. The problem present was about
air tools and the noise they make. Groups of members who use
compressed air tools were used for the brainstorming session.

In this example, the group members were part of the solution.


These members used the tools that made the noise and it was part
of their responsibility to come up with creative ideas on how to
make them quieter.

Among brainstorming examples would be accountants in a


brainstorming session presenting ideas on how to resolve the
problem of a fuel surcharge without increasing the transportation
budget.

Here again is another example of group members being part of the


problem and part of the solution

Brainstorming Process

Most of the time there is a brainstorming process or warm up


exercise before the actual brainstorming session begins. This
helps kick start the team into motion and gets them energized and
ready to start the session

Using a flipchart the team leader writes the problem at the top of
the page. This draws the attention of the team to the problem and
keeps the team in focus. By having the flip chart in constant view,
every team member will look at that chart expanding their focus,
which widens their creative flow.

In turn, each team member presents an idea that the team leader
writes down on the flip chart. This gets the team organized to
continue with the brainstorming process. The team also
focuses on the fact that when it is their turn they have to present
an idea.

All group members give one idea per turn. This way everyone in
the group has an opportunity. This makes the session equal. At
times, there may be one team member that has more ideas than
another member does. When a team member can only give ideas
on at a time, it gives other team members more of an advantage.
All the brainstorming process ideas are written down on the flip
chart page. Should the page become full, the team leader hangs
up the page on the wall. This shows the team the power of working
together as a team. The time actually gets motivated the more
ideas they see on the flip chart.

If a team member cannot come up with an idea, they say, "pass" to


go on to the next team member. This sort of works as a safety
outlet should one to the team members actually not have an idea.
This also works with team members that are not completely in
focus by having them actually verbalize the word "pass", it brings
them more into focus with the group.

Encourage the team to get crazy with their ideas no matter how
crazy they sound. A skilled team leader will push and encourage
each team member to think outside the box. This can be a difficult
task since the everyday work environment tends to make everyone
think with that part of their brain.

Details for each idea are not discussed at this point outside of the
team leader asking questions to clarify the idea. The team leader is
only looking for ideas at this point.

When it comes to the point that everyone in the group says "pass"
the brainstorming process session is complete. The team leader
also has to think about if enough ideas have been presented. If the
team leader feels more ideas are, needed they will, use a
brainstorming technique to get the group motivated again.

When a brainstorming process is structured as in this example, it


can generate many ideas and keep the team organized and
motivated at the same time. A skilled and experienced team leader
will instinctively know when it is time to bring in a few
brainstorming process techniques to keep the team flowing with
positive ideas.
Why Brainstorming Fails
People are self-conscious
There is no focus
People evaluate each others ideas
People get defensive
Ideas are variations on a theme
One person dominates
Some people do not participate
The group loses energy
There are no really new ideas

How good is your brainstorming?


Quantity: How many ideas did you
generate?
Flexibility: How different are the ideas that
you generated from each other?
Originality: How unique are the ideas that
you generated from those of other people?