Brainstorming Creativity Techniques for Innovative ideas

Brainstorming Creativity Techniques

Brainstorming is a very popular idea-generating technique, providing an opportunity for participants to quickly share and compile ideas. Brainstorming Techniques work best when participants feel free to suggest even “silly” ideas. The goal of a brainstorming session is to generate as many ideas as possible in the shortest amount of time.

The Four-step Approach to Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming Techniques is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.

The method is based on the assumption that an idea or solution can be found through unrestrained and spontaneous participation in the process, without fear of criticism. The purpose of brainstorming techniques is to generate a large number of ideas or solutions so that the best ideas would then be selected through some subsequent processes. There are many variations on brainstorming; we will review here the four-step approach to brainstorming.

The following four steps constitute the basic approach for implementing the brainstorming method:

1. Define the problem or objective

Before starting to collect ideas, it’s important to define clearly what exactly you want to achieve with your lists of ideas. The statement of this definition should be as concise as possible, in order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding among participants.

2. Gathering ideas

Participants are invited in turn to contribute their ideas, without any discussion or criticism of the proposals being made. In some cases, participants may start off with tentative suggestions in order to “warm up” and then move on to more substantial contributions later on in the session. Each new idea should be recorded in any info gathering medium.

3. Evaluating Ideas

The most common mistake is to think that brainstorming techniques are to do with coming up with lots of ideas. No, the purpose of brainstorming is to come up with good ideas. The number of ideas you have is a side effect, not a goal in itself. 

For example, he says that brainstorming should not be done in groups: “In many years of testing, we have never found group discussion to be as effective as individual idea-finding.” He claims that this is because the presence of other people inhibits thinking. This seems plausible; certainly, I find it easier to think when I’m alone.

But then he goes on to say that if you have a group you should use it for evaluation instead of generation: “Instead of trying to get everyone in on the act at the beginning, save everyone’s time and energy for the final round when the ideas are winnowed out and considered.”

4. Converting Ideas Into Action

The four-step approach is a simplified version of how to do brainstorming. It’s not called the four-step approach because it works by taking four steps, but that’s what it is.

Step 1

 Write down any ideas that come to mind. Pick a few of them and write them down in a list. Keep writing down ideas as fast as you can think of them.

Step 2

 The next step is to pick out the ones that seem most promising and work on them first. These are usually the ones that are useful or interesting or both. They will probably be the ones you take away with you from this session, but if you have trouble deciding, keep going with anything that interests you a lot.

Step 3

The last step is to make sure you have picked what seems like a sufficiently interesting idea for you to spend time on but is not so interesting that you lose interest in it. It might be something that comes up in some other way or something else you had been thinking about before and forgot about; it doesn’t matter much which it is, so long as the idea itself is interesting enough to keep your attention.

Brainstorming is more effective in small groups

A brainstorming session is a familiar tool of modern management. A group of people get together in a room for an hour or two, with the goal of producing as many ideas as possible about some problem. So if you have a problem and you want some ideas, maybe you should call your friends together and try it.

But if you’re going to use brainstorming, don’t do it the way most people do. Most people use brainstorming all wrong. The basic idea behind Brainstorming Techniques is that you want to come up with as many ideas as possible in a short period of time. To achieve this goal, brainstormers are urged to withhold criticism. They’re supposed to write down every idea that occurs to them, no matter how silly it seems at first glance. Only after they’ve collected a list of lots of different ideas are they allowed to start evaluating them.

The most common version of brainstorming is where each person contributes ideas individually and then the group evaluates them collectively. But there’s another kind that’s much more effective: in this version, each person works in small groups (of about 2-4 people) for 5 minutes or so, coming up with and evaluating ideas together, before reporting back to the larger group with their best ones. The large

Keep Brainstorming Techniques organized, for yourself and for others

There are two reasons to write. One is because you have something to say. The other is because you have to say something. The problem with writing for myself is that it can be hard to know when one is done. Writing for others solves this problem by giving you a deadline, but if you don’t care about the audience. Or they don’t care about what you’re saying, there’s no external motivation to make your writing clear and understandable.

The solution is to write both for yourself and for others. Writing for yourself means getting your ideas straight in your own mind, which means thinking carefully about their basis. But writing for others means organizing them so other people can follow the logic too; a sequence of statements more or less arranged at random is not going to have the same effect on them as on you.

I learned this lesson from Paul Graham, who has been both my co-founder and my investor since I was 19 years old. Paul’s essays are masterpieces of clarity and concision. It took me a long time to realize that this was deliberate and that he wasn’t just saying things as they occurred to him but rather had spent a lot of time rewriting them so they would be as clear as possible.

Brainstorming Techniques is a way to find alternatives

All the brainstorming techniques in this section have one thing in common: they are ways to find alternatives. You have a space of possibilities, and your goal is to find something that’s not yet in it. The techniques differ only in how you generate new ideas.

When you’re writing a description of something, you can take advantage of the psychological phenomenon called fluency. Fluency means that things that are easier to say seem to be more true, and that includes things we write. So if you want someone to see something make it easy for them to read, or better to rhyme.

The best way to get good at something is to do it a lot and learn a skill related to it. That seems so obvious it feels silly saying it. But for some reason embarrassed about doing anything too often; we feel there must be some kind of trick that will let us do it less often.

The basic rule is simple: when you have a case where there are two competing explanations and one of them involves a conspiracy, the other explanation is usually correct. The reason is simple: conspiracies are hard to sustain unless there are very few people involved because any time more than two people get together on a project there’s always a risk someone will talk to.

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