Brainstorming Techniques: A Collection of Brainstorming Methods and Strategies
So, you have a problem, and you need to come up with some solutions. Getting started can be the most difficult part of solving a problem. However, knowing good brainstorming strategies and methods is a great way to help you solve any problem you have.
What is brainstorming?
According to Merriam Webster, brainstorming is defined as mulling over ideas by one or more people in an effort to come up with a solution to a problem. Basically, a brainstorming session is where you take a problem and come up with as many ways as you can to solve the problem.
For example, if your problem is that you are hungry, there are a few solutions.
- You may go to the store to pick up ingredients to make a sandwich.
- You could eat leftovers from the fridge.
- You could pick up fast food.
Those are all brainstorming examples for a problem. While that problem is small, you can apply the same process to larger problems.
Brainstorming methods and strategies
When you are brainstorming, there are many things to keep in mind.
Setting up the session
The first step in a good brainstorming session is to set the session up for success. First, you want to be in an area that is quiet and not distracting. Second, the session should be scheduled at a time when no one involved has anything that is going to interrupt it for at least an hour. Finally, you want to make sure everyone feels comfortable talking and that someone takes notes of what is being said.
The next part of a successful brainstorming session is to have rules. For example, you may consider having a talking piece. This means that only the person who has the talking piece is allowed to speak. However, if someone says something that sparks an idea in someone else, they can raise their hand to ask for the talking piece.
A helpful brainstorming strategy during the session is that all ideas are heard. Everyone involved should throw out any ideas that occur to them, no matter how absurd or difficult they would be. These ideas can help spark other ideas that could be more feasible.
It seems counterproductive, but a common rule of brainstorming is not to react in any way to ideas that are being expressed. Of course, someone should write down all ideas, but no ideas should be praised or declared to be dumb or not helpful. This is because praising or disapproving of ideas can cause others to be reluctant to offer ideas, which means you may not solve your problem.
-A third helpful brainstorming strategy is to map out your ideas. In the center of a large piece of paper, write down your problem. As people come up with ideas, create lines that branch to those ideas. As other ideas come up that are related, you can branch them off the initial idea. This is a great way to visualize what you have come up with and see other potential solutions.
Brainstorming solutions to problems has been around forever and will continue to be so for many years to come. Finding a quiet, distraction-free space is the best way to get your brainstorming started. Setting up rules to keep the brainstorming session on track is another key to being successful. Finally, let everyone share any ideas they have and find the ones that work best for your problem. Remember, all ideas are good ones, and even if they seem outlandish, they may ultimately lead to your solution.
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