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Brainstorming

Brainstorming: this short article explains Brainstorming in a practical way. Next to what it is (definition and meaning), this article also highlights the techniques, tricks and tips. Enjoy reading!

Brainstorming: this short article explains Brainstorming in a practical way. Next to what it is (definition and meaning), this article also highlights the techniques, tricks and tips. Enjoy reading!

What is brainstorming?

Definition and meaning

Different meanings are given to brainstorming. Fundamentally brainstorming is a technique for design thinking. By collecting and sharing ideas, a group tries to reach a conclusion for a specific problem or topic. The way in which a brainstorm method session is designed depends on the goal.

However, all forms allow people to think more freely and to present more spontaneous ideas. The term was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in 1967.

This technique is especially effective when used as part of problem solving, for example, to fix design errors in a prototype. By asking questions that start with “how could we …”, the group produces a wide variety of ideas and makes connections to come up with possible solutions. All ideas are written down without criticism and evaluated after the first round.

To break cognitive bias, this technique should be about asking questions rather than finding answers. However, it is not obvious for people to remain in a question mode, as from an early age people are conditioned to come up with answers.

Brainstorming is very popular in the business world and is used in various work forms. Brainwriting is a non-verbal way of brainstorming in which ideas are written on a piece of paper and supplemented by everyone.

Another method of this technique, Brain Dumping, can be applied in both individual and group context. The SCAMPER model creates a structured approach to creative thinking. It is designed to make the user think and ask questions based on every letter in the SCAMPER acronym.

Pitfall

One danger of using this method is that confident individuals set the tone for the session, with dominant ideas that make the voice of others less heard. This challenge is removed by applying the Round-Robin Brainstorming method. The principles behind Rolestorming and Starbursting also counteract this phenomenon.

All of the above techniques can be performed in different work forms. Popular methods include: online, offline, in groups, individual, verbal, non-verbal and more.

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Tips and tricks

What are the best known brainstorming techniques? How can I use these tools to stimulate creativity or solve problems? Is this technique right for me? What does a typical session look like? Could it be a good idea to introduce brainstorming sessions at my workplace? The articles linked to brainstorming are about different brainstorming styles, brainstorming methods and creativity.

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