New ways to use Brainstorming, the classic creative thinking technique
Brainstorming remains one of the most effective creative thinking techniques in use today. With it's policy of non-judgement and rapid fire spitting out of ideas that spark off one another, it's a real firecracker way to generate quality new insights, breakthroughs and innovations. Invented within the advertising industry by Alex Osborn way back in the early 1940's, brainstorming has enjoyed over 60 years of continuous use, refinement and development. Nowadays you are as likely to sit down with brainstorming software as within the traditional group setting of between 6 and 12 people. That said, companies across the world still use formalised group brainstorming as part of their R&D, marketing, and right across the board of their departments to try and push the envelope in a kaizen quest for improvement and more profits.
Whether you choose to practice brainstorming alone (with a pad and pen, or using your PC brainstorming software), with a partner, or in the traditional setting of a group of 6-12, there are certain guidelines you'll want to follow to maximise your creative thinking experience.
The primary thought to sustain when you brainstorm is: NO JUDGEMENT! You accept that for the period of your brainstorm session, you will set aside the internal editor, your logical rational mind. You leave the Judge and Jury at the door, and accept that a lot of your ideas may fall within the realms of the impossible, the ludicrous and the banal. That's okay... ideas come in a heirarchy of usefulness and they travel in packs or families. And just like any family, some of ideas within the family will be annoying, others stupid and yet there may be family member supported within the group that shines out.
The mind works in mysterious ways and one of its greatest mysteries is how an excellent idea can be supported, sustained by or built from really awful ideas. So, remember, during a brainstorming session, judge nothing and accept all ideas as having a right to exist and a potential usefulness.
All Brainstorming Begins With A Creative Challenge A fire is started with a spark. Your 'spark' to unleash a brainstorming inferno is your set-up, the creative challenge you lay before yourself or the participants. Think of various different ways of structuring the description of your creative challenge. The mindset with which you approach a problem will determine the direction that you set off in pursuit of an answer. By asking the question in a variety of different ways, you reframe the problem and affect the answers you get from brainstorming. By looking at the challenge from as many different perspectives as possible, you move the target scope cross-hairs across the landscape of your creativity. And you'll hit a lot more unique ideas.