Brainstorming is a group technique to try and come up with solutions to a problem.
Its goal is to produce a lot of ideas.
- Often is fun.
- Gets people to work together.
- Gets people involved into the process.
- Improves teamwork.
- Not guaranteed to do anything.
- No evidence that that it will produce better results than individual thinking.
- Can lead to “social loafing”.
- Will only work if people participate.
Rules for Brainstorming
- Don’t be critical. Criticism can also disengage people and is counterintuitive to an environment where you are trying to generate new ideas.
- Welcome unusual ideas. You may not be able to implement an idea, however a “crazy” idea may have good underpinnings.
- Quality will lead to quality. A large number of ideas will lead to a good solution.
- Looking at the problem with a new perspective. Can you simplify an existing application? Can an application for one demographic be migrated to another one? Can on application be used for another task?
- Suspend assumptions. Business models and customer demographics can change.
- Combine new ideas. Building better and new ideas from associated ideas.
- Before Brainstorming
- Make a question that is going to gave to solved.
- Make sure that the question is not too vague and solvable.
- When you call the meeting
- 5-7 people is a good size for a group.
- Provide a time limit (usually 30 minutes)
- Set a goal for the number of ideas — usually 50-100 is okay.
During The Meeting
- There needs to be a leader
- There needs to be someone who transcribes the meeting.
- There typically is not a structure for the meeting.
- It is good for whomever is recording the ideas to repeat and confirm them.
- Management is not encouraged to attend.
- One form of brainstorming involve a form of evaluation where the group members vote for the best idea, and rank the best ideas on a set of criteria.
- Another type of brainstorming, visual brainstorming, includes prototyping a physical object.