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Brainstorming

"intuition pumping"

Brainstorming :: 1 of 4

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What is it?

Brainstorming is one of the oldest known methods for generating group creativity.

Characteristics

In a brainstorm a group of people come together and focus on a problem or proposal with the aim of generating novelty.

A talented and experienced facilitator is particularly useful during a brainstorm, as (almost by definition) they can be quite anarchic events.

There are two phases to the activity. The first and most important phase of the exercise generates the ideas: often called the nurturant phase. The second phase evaluates the ideas: often called the analytic phase.

What's it for?

Brainstorming is all about generating novelty; coming up with different and new ways of doing, thinking about approaching things.

Anyone can take part in a brainstorm: no special skills or training are required. Any topic or subject can be included; there is no ceiling or prohibition on subject matter.

Methods and use overview
Brainstorming might be about being creative, but there is a surprising amount of structure and rigour and - would you believe, rules - in the process. These are the basics:

  • Gather the brainstorming group together
  • Introduce the purpose of the brainstorm and to outline the rules
  • Have a brief warm-up on a totally unrelated and fun topic
  • Encourage everyone in the group to shout out ideas
  • Write the ideas down (on flip charts, whiteboards or other media)

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