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The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
David M. Ogilvy, 1911- 99
British entrepreneur

Time and project management series

Brainstorming
or generating options
toward problem solving

What is commonly known as brainstorming can be used to generate ideas toward problem solving.

  • Individuals can use brainstorming!
    Diehl and Stroebe (1987) found that individuals working separately were able to generate more ideas than groups!
  • Groups working with brainstorming are more effective when
    individuals within the group are responsible and empowered to contribute,
    and understand the value of contributing. Ideas generated can be more constructive when the group brings different perspectives and backgrounds to the process.

Brainstorming should begin with a focused, well-defined topic
that is understood by all participants.  If used in a group, it should be smaller, include a facilitator and note taker, and have a defined time limit. Ideas should be expansive, creative and not judged, and hopefully reflect a diversity of the contributors. Ideas can also build on one another.  See the entry in Wikipedia for a broader discussion.

Follow up activities:

Ideas contributed are not criticized in the process of brainstorming.
Each may have a grain of possibility and should be viewed from that perspective.
  1. Ideas contributed should be left in their original form.
  2. Guidelines should be developed for evaluating and ranking them.
  3. Ideas are then considered in light of the guidelines, revised and ranked.
  4. Follow up activities then discussed for further action:
    • A report is generated for all participants to demonstrate the validity of the exercise and continue to empower individuals to contribute to the process of resolving its original problem/challenge
    • Meetings by sub-groups to work on ideas, and perhaps resolve any differences/conflicts
    • Meeting of the collective to see if new perspectives or options are generated from the exercise.
Thinking and recall series

Concentrating | Radical thinking | Thinking aloud/private speech | Brainstorming |
Thinking critically I | Thinking creatively | Concept/mind mapping |
Thinking like a genius | Problem solving | Seven stages of writing assignments