BRAINSTORMING is one of my favorite things to do. I call it ‘focused imagination’.
Most of us day-dream about ‘what if?’ or different levels of problem solving like ‘how to apologize to someone’ to ‘how to build a better whatever’.
BRAINSTORMING is imagining, or day dreaming out loud. It tends to happen in a group, so you are sharing your dreams, your ideas in front of people.
Many people totally discount their ideas or their dreams. They are embarrassed to share them because they have not solved all the problems or issues related with them. They are just ideas. They are afraid people will point out the inconsistencies or impossibilities so they hesitate to share them.
BRAINSTORMING is taking ideas, dreams and accepting the fact that they are unfinished, maybe even impossible, yet considering them and allowing them to carry our imaginations to other ideas and dreams, maybe even solutions.
There are rules that have to be recognized and accepted for brainstorming to work:
- Brainstorming starts by presenting a fixed issue to be discussed or a problem to be solved.
- There should be a guide person, or chairperson for the discussion so you keep moving from idea to idea. Solutions will come later.
- Anything goes in brainstorming. No idea can be told that it is bad. People can take turns speaking or just speak as an idea comes that they want to contribute.
- Remember this is an imagination gathering session. No long stories. No rejection of ideas.
- Each participant should finish their thought before another person speaks unless they speak in support of the idea, and actually help develop the idea.
- It is customary to move rather rapidly from idea to idea, so be sure each person knows that just because you didn’t dwell on their idea, that doesn’t mean it was bad.
- If an idea seems to solve the issue, then move to ideas for developing that idea.
- Do not try to develop a total response in that first session. Leave the development and structure of the idea to others better suited to that task.
- Thank everyone involved. If the idea is used to solve a problem, publicly thank the group.
- Inform everyone involved in the original brainstorming session of the way you will use their ideas, especially if a solution was found.
BRAINSTORMING has a good side: It brings people together to be creative and to share ideas and to feel like they are a part of the solution.
BRAINSTORMING also has a bad side: It lets a bad manager pretend to involve people when he has already decided his course of action. It also can waste a lot of time.
BRAINSTORMING is a tool that can be used to discover (1) what your fellow workers think, (2) solutions for problems, and (3) allow for a group interaction.
BRAINSTORMING is only useful if something comes from it.