Brainstorming

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Brainstorming is one of the methods used to shorten the time of finding the solution for various problems. The thing that distinguishes this method from others is that the team members use their intuition and work together to solve diverse issues.

Alex Osborn is the founder of the brainstorming method. During his early years (19 years old) he has been elected the vice- president of one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world. In the mid 1930’ he created the brainstorming method believing that the ideas for solving problems coming from people who were not directly connected to the field make a very good base for unconventional solutions.

Brainstorming - developed by A. Osborn, is considered to be deferred valuation methods based on psychological principles and almost free association. Its basic assumptions are: disable all critical evaluation of the process of generating ideas, imagination is not constrained during the submission of ideas, striving to gather a large number of possible ideas, improve and develop the proposed ideas and combining a number of ideas previously reported. The condition of the effectiveness of the method is a good organization of creative thinking. It is recommended to create two groups: one performing the tasks provided for in the session of creativity and second created for the evaluation and selection of solutions to implement.

The core of brainstorming

The method of brainstorming starts with dividing a group of people into two groups: the innovators and the judges.

The innovation team usually consists of 9-15 creative members (according to Osborn the best capacity is 12). The team is asked to come up with several solutions on how to solve issues/problems/tasks. We can differentiate two special members of the innovation group: leader that leads the discussion and secretary, who writes down the ideas and collect the documentation. It’s best for the group to consist of people in different age, education level, position in company. While using this technique, it's also worth remembering that there should be no relation between the supervisor and his employees as it may cause some kind of obedience to the superior.

The judging team should consist of 3 members, who should be specialists in the matter and have management experience in the company. Their job is to assess the ideas passed by the innovation team. Members of the judging group should also have appropriate knowledge about the company in order to know if certain ideas are possible to conduct.

Rules

There are three very important rules:

  1. Unlimited ingenuity – encourages members to give the most innovative ideas.
  2. Bouncing ideas of each other- the more ideas the easier it is to mould them into something useful.
  3. No criticism- in this stage is important to not limit the creativity and to motivate members to feel free to give new ideas.

There are 3 steps in this technique:

Preparation for the brainstorming- first of all it is necessary to create a team, if some members participate in brainstorming for the first time they should be trained. During this step, the leader has to establish the plan of work and how long will the meeting last. The participants should be informed beforehand about the meeting and the topic.

Creativity session- the rules are introduced to members. While secretary writes down all the ideas, it is leader’s responsibility to moderate discussion. The session should last from 30 to 60minutes. The list of ideas should be send to participants so that they can enhance their ideas and send back to the leader.

Rating the ideas- performed by the team of 3 specialists who meets two days after the brainstorming session to discuss the created solutions.

Brainstorming is proved to be very effective in many cases even nowadays.This method proves that teamwork is effective and can bring very positive outcomes.

References

  • Bouchard Jr, T. J., & Hare, M. (1970). Size, performance, and potential in brainstorming groups. Journal of applied Psychology, 54(1p1), 51.
  • Litchfield, R. C. (2008). Brainstorming reconsidered: A goal-based view. Academy of Management Review, 33(3), 649-668.
  • Mongeau, P. A., & Morr, M. C. (1999). Reconsidering brainstorming. Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, 1(1), 14-21.
  • Osborn, A. F. (1953). Applied imagination.
  • Rawlinson, J. G. (1981). Creative thinking and brainstorming. Farnborough, Hants: Gower.

Author: Justyna Waliszewska