Concept

The concept of Brainstorming was popularised by Alex Osborne in 1953.

The concept has the purpose of creating a large volume of related ideas in a short period of time, free from criticism or constraint. It is a group activity aimed at getting better results by working on a problem collaboratively rather than in isolation.

Brainstorming is based on a series of short intense sessions as opposed to a prolonged activity. (Sprints, not a marathon)

There are a number of variations on the technique including Random Word seeding and Reverse Brainstorming.

Approach


Groundrules
  • Focus on Quantity
  • Withhold Criticism
  • Welcome Unusual Ideas
  • Combine and Improve Ideas

Process
  1. Define the purpose/focus/scope of the exercise in the form of a statement or question.
  2. Select participants making sure you have the right people as well as different people in the group.
  3. Participants then put forward ideas at any time (option here for people to do it on their own first before sharing).
  4. Write down ideas in full view of the group.
  5. All ideas accepted without criticism or question (not even a groan or a grimace).
  6. Let people 'hitchhike' - build upon other ideas.
  7. Keep the sense of urgency, stick to the time limit and remind the group they are approaching that limit - multiple short sprints.

Resources

Experts

Communities

Reference
Articles
  • Brainstorming 2.0: Making ideas that really happen
Tools

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