Mention the subject of creativity or the task of coming up with ideas and one word usually pops up into your mind: Brainstorming. In this article I will be employing Brainstorming into the context of creative thinking to show how people can use brainstorming effectively to generate unique and practical ideas. The word brainstorming is often used as an umbrella term to define the process of being creative. In the context of this article this word is solely used to describe a formal group technique to bring up new ideas. Brainstorming is the most well-known creativity technique. It was pioneered by Alex Osborne in the 1950’s in his book Applied Imagination (Osborne, 1953).
So what exactly is BRAINSTORMING??
Let me answer that before I go down the subject. Brainstorming is a group session that involves certain people with the intention of finding a creative solution to a problem. To do so they will come up with myriad ideas during the sessions. Dear readers’ just ideas. Ideas are very powerful and revolutionary. Now you know what brainstorming is. So let’s check certain things regarding the subject:
The rules of brainstorming are quite simple (defined by Osborne):-
· Brainstormers are placed in an informal setting.
· Brainstormers are encouraged to run wild intellectually.
· No one should criticize anyone else’s ideas.
· The more unusual or crazy the idea the better.
· The more suggestions the better.
· Ideas can be combined and recombined.
· All Brainstormers’ views are sought.
· All Brainstormers are of equal status.
Well now speaking of rules and conducts let’s speak of how exactly this session would work perfectly or more like an ideal way as far as I have rehearsed. According to me an ideal number of members for a brainstorming session would be 7. Why? Let me get back to that in a while. This panel actually would consist of a person presenting the problem and all seven of them participating in the process to find a creative solution. Overall an odd number in the group would be useful so as to provide a scope for a clear majority in a subsequent decision. Brainstorming is all in all an accumulation of ideas and not the final stage for the desired solution.
Brainstorming is not an end in itself. The technique simply throws up ideas. It doesn’t comprise a systematic problem solving sequence to creating a solution. What you should remember during a session is that the brainstorming session does not establish a clear cut system for subsequently evaluating ideas while parallel producing new ideas. Understanding this is important because it will reduce complaints about brainstorming being a “Time-waste”. The purpose simply put is to come up with as much as new insights possible for LATER evaluation.
Now to answer the question why I consider 7 to be an ideal number for a session, Research actually proves that group brainstorming is not as effective as individuals working by themselves; if individuals were left to come up with ideas they are more likely to emerge with greater number of high quality ideas. That is why is decided the idea number for a group session should be 7. That way group and individual thinking can work together dynamically. Having a Less crowd and easy to be in simple groups of twos and threes is actually an added advantage.
As a whole the core idea is to keep everyone with a constant flow of ideas as they tap their untapped potentials of the infinite subconscious combined together. More importantly every idea that comes up should be recorded in writing or drawing.
Now we all know what brainstorming is and how to actually make use of it. To make it even simple and summarized I am going to point certain advantages and disadvantages of group brainstorming.
· Time and effort arises from several people and therefore there is access to more information and skill.
· More ideas and more varied ideas are likely to be generated.
· Errors are most likely to be discovered as there is more than one person involved.
· By involving individual team members, brainstorming increases their commitment to any subsequent decisions.
· Successful brainstorming is dependent upon someone who owns the problem and has the sole power to do something about it.
· Brainstorming can be a waste of time if the session is unstructured or understands a problem incorrectly.
· Brainstorming is not good enough in crisis situations where rapid decisions and clear leadership are needed.
· Not probable for structured situations where there is a straightforward solution.
· Works well mostly on Open-Ended problems.
· If too many members in a sessions certain members loose connection and start acting like “wall flowers”.
Tip: A key skill in brainstorming is to avoid reaching premature evaluation or conclusions too soon.
For a brainstorming session to be successful, it is imperative that a process is established at the outset containing a definition of the task to be addressed, criteria for evaluating any ideas generated and resources and a timescale for putting these ideas and insights into action.
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