Brainstorming is a group creativity technique by which a group tries to find a solution for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. The term was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1953 book Applied Imagination. In the book, Osborn not only proposed the brainstorming method but also established effective rules for hosting brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming has become a popular group technique and has aroused attention in academia. Multiple studies have been conducted to test Osborn’s postulation that brainstorming is more effective than individuals working alone in generating ideas. Some researchers have concluded that the statement is false (brainstorming is not effective), while others uncovered flaws in the research and determined that the results are inconclusive. Furthermore, researchers have made modifications or proposed variations of brainstorming in an attempt to improve the productivity of brainstorming. However, there is no empirical evidence to indicate that any variation is more effective than the original technique. Nonetheless, brainstorming can be of great utility when the group accounts for, and works to minimize, the group processes that decrease its effectiveness. Osborn's method
Osborn claimed that two principles contribute to "ideative efficacy," these being "1. Defer judgment," and "2. Reach for quantity." Following these principles were his four general rules of brainstorming, established with intention to reduce social inhibitions among group members, stimulate idea generation, and increase overall creativity of the group. 1. Focus on quantity: This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution. 2. Withhold criticism: In brainstorming, criticism of ideas generated should be put 'on hold'. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, reserving criticism for a later 'critical stage' of the process. By suspending judgment, participants will feel free to generate unusual ideas. 3. Welcome unusual ideas: To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are welcomed. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions. These new ways of thinking may provide better solutions. 4. Combine and improve ideas: Good ideas may be combined to form a single better good idea, as suggested by the slogan "1+1=3". It is believed to stimulate the building of ideas by a process of association.
Nominal group technique
The nominal group technique is a type of brainstorming that encourages all participants to have an equal say in the process. It is also used to generate a ranked list of ideas. Participants are asked to write their ideas anonymously. Then the moderator collects the ideas and the group votes on each idea. The vote can be as simple as a show of hands in favor of a given idea. This process is called distillation. After distillation, the top ranked ideas may be sent back to the group or to subgroups for further brainstorming. For example, one group may work on the color required in a product. Another group may work on the size, and so forth. Each group will come back to the whole group for ranking the listed ideas. Sometimes ideas that were previously dropped may be brought forward again once the group has re-evaluated the ideas.. Group passing technique
Each person in a circular group writes down one idea, and then passes the piece of paper to the next person, who adds some thoughts. This continues until everybody gets his or her original piece of paper back. By this time, it is likely that the group will have extensively elaborated on each idea.This technique takes longer, but it allows individuals time to think deeply about the problem. Team...
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