Quality Management Tools
Brainstorming is a very powerful creative thinking and idea generating technique. It is a decision-making process used by groups to help generate a large number of ideas through an interactive process. The main goals of this technique are to help break out of habit-bound thinking and to produce a set of ideas where there is more than one choice when making a decision. Guidelines
Brainstorming is useful for attacking specific rather than general problems and where a collection of good, fresh, new ideas, rather than judgment or decision analysis, are needed. (Harris, 2002) There are some basic guidelines that should be adhered to for the most successful results. Brainstorming can take place either individually or in a group. Four to seven members in a group are thought to be ideal. After the group has been assembled, the leader should make sure that all members understand the objective of the brainstorming session. Once this has been established, encouragement for active participation from all members and development of a high-energy and enthusiastic environment should be the agenda. To keep the mental flow going, the group should not stop to discuss, criticize, or compliment the ideas as they are presented. Because this is a creative thinking technique, encouragement for far-fetched ideas and thinking "outside the box" should be an important goal. This also allows others in the group to expand and build on the ideas of the group members. It is crucial to record all of the ideas exactly as they are presented and generate as long of a list as possible. With the free association phase of brainstorming, the ideas are usually generated very rapidly at first, but after a while, the ideas will begin to slow. The group should avoid stopping when ideas begin to slow. To help this from happening, there are two techniques that will help get the process going again. The first technique is lateral thinking, which is also known as...
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