What is Brainstorming?
* Brainstorming is a tool used by teams to bring out the ideas of each individual and present them in an orderly fashion to the rest of the team. * Brainstorming creates new ideas, solves problems, motivates and develops teams. Brainstorming motivates because it involves members of a team in bigger management issues, and it gets a team working together. However, brainstorming is not simply a random activity. Brainstorming needs to be structured and it follows brainstorming rules. The brainstorming process is described below, for which you will need a flip-chart or alternative. * This is crucial as Brainstorming needs to involve the team, which means that everyone must be able to see what's happening. Brainstorming places a significant burden on the facilitator to manage the process, people's involvement and sensitivities, and then to manage the follow up actions. Use Brainstorming well and you will see excellent results in improving the organization, performance, and developing the team. Why should a team do Brainstorming?
Brainstorming helps a team break free of old and ineffective ideas. This free-wheeling technique for generating ideas may produce some that seem half-baked, but it can lead to new and original solutions to problems. Some of the specific benefits of Brainstorming: * Encourages creativity. It expands your thinking to include all aspects of a problem or a solution. You can identify a wide range of options. * Rapidly produces a large number of ideas. By encouraging people to offer whatever ideas come to mind, it helps groups develop many ideas quickly. * Equalizes involvement by all team members. It provides anon-judgmental environment that encourages everyone to offer ideas. All ideas are recorded. * Fosters a sense of ownership. Having all members actively participate in the Brainstorming process fosters a sense of ownership in the topic discussed and in the resulting activities. When the people on a team contribute personally to the direction of a decision, they are more likely to support it. * Provides input to other tools. You may want to affinitize the brainstormed ideas. And, if appropriate, you can work with the team to reduce the number of ideas by Multi-voting. Brainstorming is useful when you want to generate a large number of ideas about issues to tackle, possible causes of problems, approaches to use, or actions to take.
What are the ground rules for Brainstorming?
For all participants to enjoy a creative and productive Brainstorming experience, the facilitator needs to review and get team members’ buy-in on the ground rules for the session. These are the rules: * Active participation by all team members. Everyone expresses his or her ideas, even if they seem silly or far out. * No discussion—criticisms, compliments, or other comments—during the brainstorm. * Build on ideas generated by other team members.
* All ideas written exactly as presented and displayed where everyone can see them. * Set a time limit.
* Clarify ideas. After the brainstorm, go over the list to make sure that all team members understand the ideas. Remember that you are only clarifying the ideas, not making judgments about them. * Combine ideas. See whether two or more ideas that appear to be the same can be combined. How is a Brainstorming session conducted?
The recommended sequence for conducting Brainstorming and some suggestions for conducting the session effectively are provided below: * Review the rules for Brainstorming. Describe how this session will be conducted by going over the points below. * Set a time limit for Brainstorming, assign a timekeeper and data recorder, and start the clock. Brainstorming should be a rapid generation of ideas, so do it quickly; 5-15 minutes works well. If the time limit has expired and ideas are still being generated, you can extend the time limit at five-minute intervals....
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