Methods of creative problem solving and activating creativity
Brainstorming is one of the most widely used and an extremely effective methods for divergent idea generation. This technique was developed by New York advertising executive Alex Osborn around the years 1939 -1941. In 1953 the procedures and rules had been defined and appeared in his book Applied Imagination.
Classical brainstorming is a predominantly verbal method of problem solving and an ideation technique of divergent idea generation, conducted in small, specifically organized groups of different from each other and equal participants, (3-12 persons), and involves a well-trained leader – facilitator, a secretary, a well-defined problem, a two separated stages session (idea generation, idea evolution), which normally lasts for 1-1,5 hour.
Methodological and theoretical foundations for brainstorming are the following universal statements:
1. Understanding of human creativity as the process of self-organization, as spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming disorder. Willing acception of uncertainty is the path to creative freedom and new possibilities, and directed ordering of disorder will spontaneously emerge solutions of the problem. In this sense the essential metaphor of brainstorming is generation and mastery of creative chaos.
2. There is an analogy between creativity and the evolutionary process in nature. According to these approaches, creativity is a Darwinian process, a “blind-variation-selective-retention process” (BVSR) (Campbell 1960). Namely richness and diversity of life forms as the base of changes, development and creative emergence of new forms.
Brainstorming is based on two funda¬mental principles : 1. Quantity breeds quality. 2. Deferred judgment about the ideas value and is governed by four basic rules: 1. Criticism of an idea is ruled out; 2. Freewheeling and unusual ideas are welcomed; 3. Quantity of ideas is wanted; 4.Combining and improving ideas.
Main brainstorm functions:
1. Brainstorming is a powerful tool in Creative Problem Solving. This technique helps to create new productive ideas and solves a complex problems.
2. Brainstorming motivates and develops teams, emphasize teamwork and discussion. Group work provide a wide range of alternatives and a variety of viewpoints.
The power of this technique is in the group synergy, in generation of a creative energy, in establish a new creative space, where everyone encourage and stimulate others and new ideas are grow from another ideas.
The essence of brainstorming method is a divergent thinking, namely generating a large quantity of different ideas and hence a generation of diversity.
In addition plenty of ideas is the raw materials and breeding ground on which the effective practical solutions grow. Moreover namely generating wrong, stupid and silly ideas could spark off the most useful and pragmatical ideas.
The most criterian of brainstormig is the sheer number of genereted ideas. That’s why the main purpose of this method is overcoming and inherent inner and social barriers, breaking down a mental blocks, habitus, stereotypes and inertia thinking.
Consequently the main goal of leader is making of a creative friendly atmosphere of comfort and confidence, a special creative space, where the participants freely, spontaneously and gladly put forward a new ideas.
1. The facilitator arranges the meeting for a group of the right size and makeup (ideally 4-8 people).
2. The facilitator conduct warm-up session, generating a creative atmosphere and criticism-free environment.
3. The facilitator clearly define the problem and the objectives to achieve
writing it on a flipboard, whiteboard or other system where everyone can see it.
He review the ground rules instructs the participants to generate ideas ( anyone can say an idea at any time or say in turn, allowing people to pass if they have no new ideas).
4. All participants present their ideas, and the facilitator or idea collector records them. All ideas will be accepted and registered.
5. The facilitator encourages creativity and an enthusiastic behaviour in the group.
6. To ensure clarity, participants may elaborate on their ideas.
7. The facilitator organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages participants to work on other people’s ideas, in order to improve them. Ideas that are identical can be combined, all others should be categorized and kept. 8. The group itself, or special group of critics, evaluate the ideas and select one as the solution to the problem proposed to the group.
9. The facilitator clarifies the solution and concludes the session.
Brainstorming advantages include :
• The rules of brainstorming is easy to understand, easy to master and use.
• It is inexpensive, simple technique, that requires few material resources.
• Many ideas can be generated in a short time.
• Encourages creative thinking and thinking “out of the box”
• One idea can spark off other ideas.
• Is a democratic, fun and exiting way of generating ideas
• Provides an opportunity for widespread participation and involvement
• Everyone can be involved equally, every idea is a worthy one
• Spirit of cooperation is created.
• Develops a creative abilities and creative thinking of group members.
• Universality of the method and possibility to combine it with other technique.
Brainstorming disadvantages include:
• Requires an experienced and sensitive facilitator
• Can be chaotic, unfocused.and intimidating.
• Can take too much time if the group is not properly controlled
• If not managed well, criticism and negative evaluation may occur.
• More discrete participants might find it difficult to express their crazy ideas.
• Lack of reliable criteria that determine the quality of solutions.
Different methods and major brainstorming techniques
There are many variations of classical brainstorming, which have been built upon basic principles. These include additional techniques, procedures, games, tools, equipment and technology used to organize and stimulate the participants. The leader should compare different brainstorming techniques, select the best brainstorming method and apply it to the specific team situation.
There are several factors to consider:
1. The basic characteristics of the problem: complexity, level of uncertainty and novelty, inexpressiveness, heterogeneity, dynamics.
2. The peculiar properties of the group: size, varied a group, level of development and qualification, status and age of group members.
3. The brainstorming session situation: brainstorming space, the availability of necessary equipment, special blanks, cards, pens, white-board a flip chart or software tool.
I. Structure and procedures difference
1. Reverse (negative) brainstorming
Theoretical background: its negativity can be advantageous and seen in a positive light.
1.1. Reverse brainstormingis combining brainstorming and reversal techniques.
Reverse brain-storming is a good technique to try when it is difficult to identify solutions to the problem directly. Reversal technique is asking the exact opposite of the question you want answered, and then apply the results appropriately.
1. Participants begin with clear identification the problem or challenge.
2. The leader state the problem that is the opposite of their goal. He reverse the problem by asking: “How could you possibly achieve the opposite effect?”, “How not to solve the problem?” or “How can we go out of business?”, “How can we make our workplace more depressing?”.
3. The leader ask participants to generate reverse solution ideas. He invite participants do not reject anything at this stage and allow the ideas to flow freely.
Participants reverse all received ideas into solution ideas for the original problem. Those new unusual ideas can used as a springboard to more realistic and useful solutions to their actual problem statement.
4. Participants reverse all received ideas into solution ideas for the original problem. Those new unusual ideas can used as a springboard to more realistic and useful solutions to their actual problem statement.
5. Participants evaluate these solution ideas and select the most effective and practical.
1.2. Negative Brainstorming
a) Negative brainstorming consists of a conventional brainstorming session that is applied to questions such as: ‘What could go wrong with this project?’
This technique is considered as Analysing Potential Problem, Technique “Analysis of defects” and examining potential failures of situation, real-existing objects, product or service.
The purpose of the reverse brainstorming is compiling the most complete list of contradictions, defects, deficiencies, gaps, imperfections and limitations of real existing objects or ideas.
b) This technique can be used as a final evaluation of a short-list of previously team-generated ideas in the conventional brainstorming session
1. The team displays a final list of previously brainstormed ideas that passed preliminary evaluation.
2. One by one, all ideas are questioned or criticized for possible shortcomings, problems, weaknesses, or serious consequences if implemented.
3. After all ideas have been evaluated the team selects the best idea that can easy and effectively implemented.
2. Combined brainstorming
2.1. Double brainstorming:after classical brainstorming session, participants make a break for 2-3 days and then repeat it again. During the break – the participants subconscious is activated and generates new unexpected fundamental ideas.
2.2. Reverse and classical (direct) brainstorming.After reverse brainstorming session, participants make a break for 2-3 days and then conduct classical brainstorming. (And vice versa).
2.3. Reverse -Classical (direct) – Reverse brainstorming.
1. First, using a reverse brainstorming reveal all the flaws, weaknesses and contradictions of the existing objects, and allocate them among the top.
2.Then conduct the classical brainstorming session in order to overcome identified major deficiencies.
3.On the third stage conduct the negative brainstorming, to criticism ideas generated by the second stage
2.4. Shuttle Brainstorming.
1.Two groups of participants with a different abilities- to generate ideas and to criticise are formed.
2. These groups of participants work in different rooms.
3. A group of ideas generators begins a Brainstorming session: eader poses a problem, asks each to generate new ideas, writes them and sends list of ideas to the critics.
4. Critics select the most interesting and promising ideas, and based on them extend and specifed a a task that after a break once again pas to group of ideas generator.
5. The session cyclically repeated until an acceptable result will acheave.
Group of only six people can put forward in the process of shuttle storming to 150 ideas for 30 minutes.
3. Question brainstorming
This process involves brainstorming the questions related to the problem, rather than trying to come up with immediate answers and short term solutions.
Once the list of questions is set, it may be necessary to prioritize them to reach to the best solution in an orderly way. The ideas evaluation process is critical.
1. The facilitator poses the topic to be brainstormed.
2. Еhe group asks variety questions about the topic. This is done in a free manner without worrying about answers. All questions are recorded.
4. The participants examine and prioritize all generated questions.
5. The group brainstorms by reacting to the questions in order to reach to the best solution.
This technique stimulates creativity and promotes everyone’s participation because no one has to come up with answers.
The answers to the questions form the framework for constructing future action plans.
The questions that arise out of these brainstorming sessions often lead to solutions that are markedly different to the run-of-the-mill answers.
4. Stop-and-go brainstorming
The brainstorming session is divided up into segments. Ideas are generated for three to five minutes and then the group is silent for three to five minutes. It allows participants to gather their thoughts and peruse the ideas that have been recorded up to that point. Then ideas are given out for another three to five.
a) Pauses in the Brainstorming Process ( Michael S. Slocum). The Flow of Idea Generation includes some stages: Initial phase: many easy ideas. First pause. Ideas are built upon and combined. Second pause. Fewer but deeper ideas Third pause. Ideas are exhausted.
5. Gordon-little variation
Progressive Revelation technique. This technique was suggested by William Gordon while he was working for the Arthur D. Little Invention Design Unit in the 1950s. (named by VanGundy, 1981 as the Gordon-Little technique).
Gordon noted that participants in brainstorming sessions often look for ideal or obvious solutions and once these have been found suspend their really creative thinking. He suggested a procedure that initially avoids presentation of the problem to be solved and biasing the idea generation and premature closure.
The method assumes that participants must not already know what the real problem is.
The problem is initially presented in a very generalized, theoretical and non-specific form and the more factual details are made known gradually step-by-step.
Thus the leader initially states the underlying concept or principle of the problem and gradually does the reveal more and more information
1. The leader eexplains what is going to happen and presents a problem in a very abstract and theoretical form initially, because that often makes it easier to thinking openly about it.
2. The leader asks participants to suggest ideas for solving the problem in this abstract form.
3. The leader introduces key pieces of information associated with the problem.
4. The leader and participants progressively redefine problem to a less abstract level.
5. The leader reveals the original problem to the group.
6. The group use the previously generated ideas as stimuli and triggers to generate actual solutions to the original problem.
6. Rawlinson brainstorming
This technique (author J. G. Rawlinson 1970) does not emphasize group interaction. It is especially useful for untrained groups because there is no interaction between group members and all ideas are directed towards the facilitator and scribe.
1. The problem owner simply presents his problem and the ideal situation he is looking for.
2. Then he gives simple background on routes he has tried and have failed, and what would represent an ideal solution.
3. Other group members present their solutions directly to the facilitator in two-word phrases.
4. The facilitator focuses on those ideas that he finds most helpful and give him new viewpoints
7. Kaleidoscope brainstorming technique
KBS (Silent brainstorming) or Multiple Mind Conferencing (MMC) (Dr Murthy).
This is a new approach to the brainstorming process, including different variations as to its use.
The various degrees and modes of silence and communication effectively use as tools in the Kaleidoscope brainstorming approach.
1. Initial ideas generation brainstorming session
The session is conducted in a normal fashion with the participants speaking out their ideas in a round robin or random fashion for an agreed period. The facilitator can use any normal brainstorming format for this session. It is a good idea to use a format that is comfortable for the facilitator and the participants.
2. Silent brainstorming session
2.1. The silent brainstorming session stage requires all team members or participants to stop talking, and to think of ideas.
2.2. Then ideas are to written down by each brainstorming participant.
2.3. The participants must guess the ideas that others may be thinking and writing down. Ideally participants should guess the ideas of the other participants for each person, one after the other.
Participants should be encouraged to think how each of the other participants’ minds are working – to empathise, to ‘put themselves in the other person’s shoes’ – as a method of guessing as intuitively and accurately as possible.
3. Presentation of brainstorming ideas session
In this session, each of the delegates reads out or shows their own ideas and also their best guesses of the ideas for others.
During A’s presentation, others simply listen.
In turn each delegate gives a similar presentation.
4. Discussion of brainstorming ideas session
The presentations are followed by a detailed discussion session. The participants may discuss why and how they guessed about others. Each participant can also comment on the guesses of the other participants, and validate or clarify. In this sense the activity helps open hidden areas of awareness, which in turn promotes better understanding, relationships, communications, team-building and co-operation.
5. Further silent and speaking sessions – the kaleidoscope effect
Further sessions can repeat and extend the silent session so that participants increase the depth and complexity of their thinking still more. Specifically participants should now think about and guess how other delegates are thinking about the ideas of others. This again is done silently, together. The participants minds are acting as mirrors creating multiple reflections of each other, rather like the few small objects inside a kaleidoscope creating wonderful arrays and patterns.
8. Wildest idea technique
The underlying application of this tool is to discover break-through ideas for process, product, or service improvements.
This tool encourages participants to perform out-of-the box brainstorming with the goal of generating truly outrageous and wild ideas.
The leader may suspend the normal session and asked members of the group actually to write down a fantasy or dream-like solution to the problem. Next, the various suggestions are collected and written on the flip chart. Each fantasy idea is then brainstormed until a realistic idea is found.
Wild ideas may not be productive in themselves but they can spur others on to think of more practical ideas.
1. The facilitator introduces this brainstorming variation and displays of several wild and impossible ideas to a stated problem.
2. Participants generate other wild, crazy ideas or hitchhike on others already mentioned and do not allow to participants revert back to generating conventional ideas
3. The facilitator records ideas and dates the final list of ideas.
9. Individual brainstorming
Individual brainstorming is done independently on a solitary basis. It typically includes such techniques as free writing, free speaking, free word association and the spider web, which is a visual note taking technique in which people diagram their thoughts.
Individual brainstorming, in certain cases is considered as more effective than traditional brainstorming.
This method was originally popularized in Germany in the 70s and developed by Arthur B. VanGundy
Brainstorming is done by freely writing down ideas about a given topic. Each person writes their ideas down on index cards, self-adhesive notes or slips of paper. The general process is that all ideas are recorded by the individual who thought of them.
In this technique related ideas are simply listed, participant should try to move toward a focused topic by centering on related words, phrases, details, examples, and thoughts. Moreover they emphasize and develop any interesting points.
There are two basic types of brainwriting:
1. Individual free writing. Nominal ideas in a group that are not shared with other group members while generating ideas.
2. Brainwriting with interacting ideas that are shared for additional stimulation.
10.a. Individual brainwriting
Individuals write their ideas down in a private, quiet place and share them later.
That is why this technique is also named Combined brainwriting when after free individual writing each participant reads out his ideas and these are discussed by group.
An example of nominal brainwriting would be a group of people (either in the same room sitting together or connected via computer in other locations) write down ideas in index cards or Post-It Notes. At the end of a set period of time (10 -15 minutes) the ideas are collected, organized into groups, and evaluated.
1. Participants write about their answer to the question that is related to the purpose of a brainstorm. They can’t stop writing until the oven timer goes off. (5-10 minutes per free writing subject)
2. Then they read and analyzed free writing assignment they’ve received and underline any content they find unique or interesting.
3. Each brainstorm participant reads out their summary to the group and identifies any copy points they found unique or interesting.
4. Select concepts for further development (can be done alone or as part of the group).
Unlike in free-writing one writes sentences to form a paragraph about whatever comes to mind. This technique also called writing free stream-of-consciousness writing in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. The technique involves continuous writing, usually for a predetermined period of time (often five, ten, or fifteen minutes).
The advantage of this technique is that you free up your internal critic and allow yourself to write things you might not write if you were being too self-conscious
At the same time free writing is not the same as automatic writing or psychography. Spiritual Automatic Writing claim does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer. In some cases, it is done by people in an alleged trance state when they hand forms the message, with the person being unaware of what will be written.
The main difference between individual brainwriting and a lot of other brainstorm techniques, is that it doesn’t typically deliver a wide-ranging quantity of ideas. Instead, it delivers a great deal of quantity on one specific subject.
Write a list of 101 Ideas. Open your word processor and write a laundry list of at least 101 ideas to deal with your situation. Go wild and write whatever you can think of without restricting yourself. Do not stop until you have at least 101.
II. Group techniques
1. Group brainwriting technique
In this version new ideas are shared for additional stimulation. It is deal for groups that prefer to discuss through writing.
1. Each person writes a problem at the top of the page.
2. Participants write ideas on their own sheet of paper (It is possible to use the special lined brainwriting sheet).
3. After 10 minutes the sheets are passed on to the next person, who adds more ideas, using the existing ideas as stimuli and a trigger for their own ideas. The person receiving an paper then can do one of five things:
• Each person adds one idea.
• Each person adds one row of ideas (usually four or five).
• Each person adds as many ideas as they like.
• Each person adds comments.
• Each person modifies the other’s idea.
The sheets are passed around until they are filled up. You can then add more sheets or stop when a page is full.
4. At the end of a set period of time the ideas are collected, organized into groups, and evaluated.
• It is useful when everyone has different problems that they want to solve.
• It is particularly useful with a group of people who are somewhat reticent and would be unlikely to offer many ideas in an open group session.
• It works well with large groups – there is no real limit to the group size.
• It can speed things up because everyone is offering ideas all of the time
• It also helps that all ideas are visible and can be easily scanned to trigger new ideas.
2. Brainwriting pool (BP)
This variation of brainstorming was developed by the Battlle Institute of Frankfurt, Germany. The brainwriting pool is an idea-generating tool in which new ideas are derived from the written, rather than verbalized, ideas of others.
The absence of verbal interaction is designed into the method so as to prevent negative consequences which often accompany group discussions and to add a greater sense of anonymity.
1. A group leader presents a problem to the group or displays on a flip chart.
2. The participants silently write down their ideas on a card or a sheet of paper.
3. Each person places his sheet in the center of the table (the pool), exchanging it for another sheet placed there by another participant.
4. Everyone pulls out one or more of these ideas for inspiration. Those ideas on the sheet are examined and other related ideas are added. Team members can create new ideas, variations or complements on existing ideas. The sheet is then returned to the pool and exchanged for another sheet.
5. This process continues for approximately 30 minutes. At the end of this time, all ideas are posted on flip charts for later evaluation.
3. The Gallery method
The Gallery method is the technique developed by the Battelle Institute and improved by Van Gundy, 1981 and others.
In this method the participants move past the ideas (as in an art gallery) rather than the ideas moving past the participants. Several flip chart sheets are posted around the room and participants circulate and record their ideas. As participants move around the room and read the ideas of others, they often get other, related ideas that they add to the list. The distinctive feature of the Gallery Method is that group members are permitted to move about during the break period (incubation period).
Also cards or sheets of paper can be used to record the ideas; they then are pooled in order to be exchanged and examined by others. This results in additional related or “build-on” ideas.
1. Position flip chart paper round the room, with the problem statement displayed so everyone can see it (groups should be between 5-7 people). The statement should be discussed briefly for clarification.
2. The group members silently write down ideas on the sheets of paper (they can write directly onto the sheets, or on cards and stick these on the flip-charts). The writing should be large, clear and concise to enable other to read it easily.
3. After 20-30 minutes of writing, a break is taken and the participants are given 15 minutes to walk around the room viewing ideas on the other flip charts and making notes.
4. Participants return to their own work areas and continue generating their own ideas or make improvements on the ideas of others.
5. When the group appears to be running low on ideas again, repeat steps 3 and 4 or else close the idea-generating phase.
6. After the terminal round is completed, all ideas are pooled together, sorted, classified
7. The group examines the ideas and selects those deserving further attention or implementation.
A disadvantages of this method that people’s movements may distract others, the no anonymity is offered for idea generation and there is a risk of competition between participants during the break and view.
3.1. Post it Note brainstorming
The full group is divided in groups of three to five (form at least three different small groups).
Each small group brainstorms and writes their ideas on Post It notes. After a set time, the full group reconvenes and stick these on the flip-charts or wall. It notes are posted and grouped into categories, themes, or commonalities. The best idea is pulled out of each category by the full group.
3.2. Display brainstorming
The full group is divided into small groups. Each small group works at a flip chart and brainstorms. After a set time, groups settle on their best idea and subsequently “display” it at their station.
The other groups then rotate from station to station and weigh the pros and cons of each displayed idea. After spending time at each station, the full group reconvenes and settles on the best idea or ideas.
Brainwalking technique is similar to brainwriting, but in this case, participants write their ideas on large sheets of paper covering the walls.
Each sheet of paper has a topic related to main problem, and participants can walk around and add comments on the sheets of paper.
This technique is highly suitable for kinesthetic and energetic participants who don’t want to spend the whole class sitting down.
4. 6-3-5 Brainwriting (6-3-5 Method, or Method 635)
This is a group creativity technique originally developed by Bernd Rohrbach (1968).
The name Brainwriting 6-3-5 comes from the process of having 6 participants who sit in a group and write 3 ideas on separate cards every 5 minutes. Participants are encouraged to draw on others’ ideas for inspiration, thus stimulating the creative process. After 6 rounds in 30 minutes the group has thought up a total of 108 ideas.
1. Each person received a blank 6-3-5 worksheet.
2. Everyone writes the problem statement at the top of their worksheet.
3. Each participant writes three ideas on the top row of the worksheet in 5 minutes related to the problem statement.
4. At the end of 5 minutes or when everyone has finished, participants pass the cards with written ideas to the person on their left (or right).
5. The participants read all ideas passed to them, further develop the ideas or add three more ideas.
6. This process continues until each participant receives back his or her own card written during round one.
7. Lastly, all ideas are clustered and recorded.
Advantages.This is easy procedure exchange of knowledge, building new ideas on previous ideas. All participants are active and avoid social loafing and production blocking.
Disadvantages.In a similar way to brainstorming, it is not the quality of ideas that matters but the quantity.
5. Brain writing game
This method is set in the form of competitive game. As long as the game atmosphere is fun rather than overly competitive, and the facilitator ensures that there are no significant losers,
1. The facilitator displays the problem statement, and explains that the winner of the game is the one who devises the most unlikely solution.
2. The facilitator sells each group member an agreed number of blank.
3. Members try to think of utterly implausible solutions, writing one per card.
4. The cards are then put up on a display board. Members now have 15 minutes to silently read all the solutions and vote for what he now considers to be the most improbable idea on the numbered cards. Each member then has two votes (e.g. two sticky stars).
6. Everyone comes together and agrees on the best ideas overall.
Advantages. The game format might be useful, particularly in training contexts. Very little facilitation skill is needed.
Disadvantages. The game will take a little longer than some other brainwriting techniques.
6. Constrained brainwriting
This method is a version of standard Brainwriting pool technique. Participants constrain ideas around pre-determined focus, rather than ranging freely. Process of idea generation is biased on using brain-writing sheets prepared in advance.
1. Present starter ideas: The leader initiates the process by placing several prepared sheets of paper in the pool in the centre of the table.
2. Private brainwriting: Each group member takes a sheet and silently adds his or her ideas.
3. Change sheet: When a member runs out of ideas or wants to have the stimulation of another’s ideas, s/he puts one list back in the centre of the table and takes one returned by another member. After reviewing this new list s/he has just selected, s/he adds more ideas.
4. Repeat until ideas are exhausted. No discussion at any stage.
Varying the level of constraint
1. Cued brainwriting:For mild constraint, the sheets are simply primed with one or more starting ideas (e.g. SWOT’s, issues) in the required area.
2. Structured brain-writing:For a stronger constraint the sheets can be formally headed, each sheet relating to a particular issue or theme, with participants being asked to keep the ideas they contribute on each sheet relevant to the issue in the heading on that sheet.
7. Round-Robin and Roundtable brainstorming
Spencer Kagan (1992) popularized the use of the terms Roundrobin (to refer to an spoken turn-taking strategy) and Roundtable (to refer to a written turn- taking strategy).
This technique involves taking turns and having teammates contribute one answer at a time. This technique is ideal in providing every participant, including those less expressive, an equal chance to contribute, and it greatly slows down the more dominant individuals.
7.1. Round-Robin Technique (The verbal version)
The round robin brainstorming tool is a variation of the classical brainstorming in that the team facilitator calls in turn on participants (round robin style) to give their ideas, which are then recorded on a flip chart. Instead of the participants being encouraged to shout out ideas at random, each person in turn is asked to make a contribution. This process continues, and ideas are recorded until all participants have passed during a round. The ’round’ is repeated several times until it appears that ideas have dried up or until a fixed period of time has elapsed.
7.2. Roundtable Brainstorming (the written version)
a) One paper version
1. Take out one sheet of paper for your team to use. Listen to the question.
2. Write one answer on the paper while saying it out loud.
3. Pass the paper to the teammate on your left.
4. Listen to the one answer that each of your teammates will write.
5. Write an additional answer that no one has mentioned the next time the paper comes to you.
6. Listen to the additional answers from your teammates.
7. Continue contributing answers, one at a time, until time is up.
b) Stack of cards version
1. Participants receive a stack of index cards.
2.In silence, each person takes a card and writes down one idea. He or she then passes the card to the person on the right.
3. That person reads the card and uses it to generate a new idea.
4. Then he turns the first card upside down in a stack, and passes the new card to the right.
5. The process of writing new ideas and passing to the person on the right continues for a set amount of time, perhaps ten minutes.
6. At the end, the facilitator gathers the cards. Each idea is read alound, and the cards are then arranged and grouped on a whiteboard or wall, with duplicates discarded.
c) Small groups version
1. Divide whole group into small groups (one group per table).
2. Assign one topic per table (A, B, C, D, …).
3. Give each table a piece of flipchart paper to write their brainstorming ideas.
4. After 2-3 minutes, topics (and flipchart papers) rotate to the next table, and the process begins again.
5. Continue until all tables have brainstormed all topics.
6. Review completed flipcharts with the whole group.
d) Sequencing version.This movement in turn or around the table continues throughout the session. In this technique, the moderator goes in order from one member of the group to the next in turn or sequence. Each member gives whatever ideas he then has, and they are written down. If a member has no ideas, he just says, “Pass,” and the next member responds.
8. Group passing technique
The GROUP pass technique involves sitting in a circle or around a table and offering solutions in a fast paced manner. When the ideas are blurted out in this way there is no time to think long and hard before volunteering a response.
8.1. One idea and one paper version.
1. Each person in a circular group writes down one idea, and then passes the piece of paper to the next person in a clockwise direction, who adds some thoughts.
2. If a participant does not have an idea they must say “pass” and allow the session to continue because the point of the session is to minimize too much critical analysis.
3. This is repeated until everybody gets the piece of paper with their original idea back.
8.2. The same piece of paper and many ideas version
The piece of paper is passed to each member present. The participants continue to contribute by writing additional ideas on the piece of paper each time they receive it.
1. The participant writes many ideas or his comments on the same piece of paper.
2. The paper hands-over to the person sitting at your side in a clockwise direction.
3. Once everyone have contributed their ideas, all ideas are collected and a group constructs a broad solution.
8.3. Idea Book.Technique uses a book for ideas gathering. A description of the problem is listed on the first page of the book.
1. The first person to receive the book lists his or her ideas and then routes the book to the next person. It is possible to use the distribution list.
2. The second person can log new ideas or add his comments to the ideas of the previous person.
3. This procedure continues until the all pages of the book have been filled or until the distribution list is exhausted.
4. The leader reads out and participants discuss the ideas logged in the book.
This technique takes longer, but allows for individual thought whenever the person has time to think deeply about the problem.
9. Nominal group technique
This technique was originally developed by A. L. Delbecq and A. H. VandeVen (1971), and has been applied to adult education program planning by K. R. Vedros.
It is a structured from of BrainStorming or BrainWriting with up to:
a) 10 participants and an experienced facilitator
b) 3-4 groups of up to 10 participants, with a spokesperson for each group and a single facilitator overall)
The fundamental principles:
1. A nominal group consists of several people who are prepared to work as a team to resolve a problem.
2. This method encourages all participants to have an equal say in the process.
Contribution from all participants is encouraged and every individual’s idea is given equal standing, whether unique or not.
3. Ideas are gathered in the nominal technique by confirming a level of anonymity.
4. It is used to generate a ranked list of ideas.
The essential characteristics of NGT are:
1. Silent generation of ideas by writing.
2. Round-robin feedback from group members to record each idea in a terse phrase on a flip chart.
3. Discussion of each recorded idea for clarification and evaluation.
4. Individual voting on priority of ideas with the group decision being mathematically derived through rank-ordering or rating.
Various forms of the procedure can be undertaken, however, the classical form uses the following steps.
1. Participants are asked to write down their ideas anonymously (10 minutes).
2. Round-robin recording of ideas, allows each person in turn to read out one idea, which the facilitator writes up on a flip chart for all to view and numbered sequentially. This is repeated going around the groups until all ideas are exhausted and any duplicates are eliminated.
3. Serial discussion to clarify ideas and check communication is encouraged by the facilitator. Discussions are calm and controlled to aid clarification of the idea, they are not heated debates. This process used is called distillation.
4. Preliminary anonymous vote on item importance is usually carried out in the method described under Anonymous Voting.
5. Further discussion and voting, takes place if the voting is not consistent. Steps 3 – 4 can be repeated and any ideas that received votes will be re-discussed for clarification.
6. The top ideas could be forwarded to specialized brainstorming session in specific: departments, units or groups. Thus 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.
10. The Buzz session
This method was developed by J.D. Phillips (1948). A small group drawn from a larger group that discuss a specific aspects of a larger topic. A small group can to solve the common problem separately or solve specific sub-problems. The leader devides the group into several smaller groups and offers them some sub-problems prepared in advance.
PHILLIPS 66 BUZZ SESSION.Large audiences are divided into sub-groups of six people who generate ideas for six minutes. Each group selects a secretary who records ideas and reports them to the large group.
1. Leader divides the audience into smaller groups (3-8 members, ideally-6).
2. A chairman or secretary is appointed for each group and a time limit for the discussion is established (6-10 minutes).
3. The group to generate ideas related to the problem.
4. Chairmen present the group’s ideas to the large group for further discussion.
11. Rolestorming technique
This method was developed by Griggs (1985) and described by VanGundy (1988).
Participants take on another identity and view problems and solutions from a different standpoints. This will allow you to come up with ideas that you normally would not feel comfortable suggesting, but which you can freely express by attributing them to someone else.
They try to answer on such questions as: What would you do if you were someone else? Your parent? Your teacher? Your manager? Your partner? Your best friend? Your enemy?
1. Invent an identity or use that of someone you know.
2. Assume that identity or refer to the fictitious person as ‘this person would suggest…..’
3. Brainstorm in separate identity.
4. Change roles. Now try another identity obviously this can be done many times for many different characters.
12. Rotating roles
Rotating between roles allows participants to bring forward different views in that role or position as a process owner or stakeholder, views that often do not surface unless you “act out” a particular role.
1. The facilitator prepares a wheel with role titles and writes the problem in the center of the wheel. Role cards and a flip chart for each role must also be prepared.
2. Participants are seated around the table .
3. Every participant views the problem from his/her present role and records concerns, insights, ideas, or recommendations on the appropriate flip chart prepared for this role.
4. After everyone has finished, the wheel is rotated one position or, as an option, participants move to the next chair.
5. This process of rotation continues, and ideas are recorded on the flip charts, until all participants have rotated through all roles. No “pass” is allowed.
6. The facilitator ends the session and compiles flip chart information for the team’s next step in the problem solving.
1. Participants brainstorm ideas from the perspective of a character not in the room.
2. They record the ideas on the posted sheets of paper with the name of imaginary personalities.
3. Have people walk from sheet to sheet to write their ideas from that perspective.
13. Blue slips technique
Method was developed by C. C. Crawford of the University of Southern California (USA) in the 1920s.
It is an organized process for use in gathering ideas from large groups even up to 5000 people, though it’s much easier to handle with a lecture theatre and groups ( 50 – 200). This tool is particularly helpful early in the community partnership’s development.
It has been used to gather strategic information, generate creative ideas for enhance the quality of services , conduct strategic planning sessions and support management practice.
Traditionally, Blue Slips are made by cutting 8.5″ X 11″ paper into eight pieces.
1. The group facilitator distributes a stack of Blue Slips to each participant (from 5 to 50 slips depending on how many ideas you want back)
2. Then he describes the purpose of the Blue Slip session, such as generating ideas to “solve a problem“ or “develop a vision statement.”
3. The facilitator presents the problem statement or creative task in terms such as: “How can we….?”, “In what ways might we…”.
4. The facilitator asks the group for ideas on a topic. Ideas should be written as brief thoughts and one idea per slip.
Modifications: Displayed images or words to the whole meeting to act as triggers, or organising participants to work in twos or threes.
5. When participants are slowing down and running out of ideas or the time is up (usually 5 – 10 minutes), the facilitator collects the Blue Slips.
6. The group explore and collate the Blue Slips and sort them into similar categories, organize the ideas by similarity, degree of usability, priorities and using these to trigger further thoughts. This can be accomplished by spreading them on a table, sticking them to a wall, or placing them in boxes.
7. Once ideas are sorted and discussed and the best ideas identified and the group decided how they will use this ideas.
1. They provide an opportunity for anonymity, and level the playing field so everyone can make an equal contribution.
2. Blue Slips are great idea-catchers.
3. This method can give an audience a sense of involvement.
4. It can used when there is no time or ability to discuss ideas, and it is neccesery just to collect people’s thoughts.
5. This technique can successfully supply a method of achieving large numbers of ideas swiftly.
14. The Pin card technique
Pin-Card technique is another variation of Brainwriting method developed by the Battelle Institute (H. Geschka, et al., 1981)
The pin cards that can be small cards or post-its (each person having their own colour) are passed to the person on the immediate right, thus the card is passed around the table. This encourages turn-taking and individual contributions and is basically self-facilitating, but is not anonymous. The procedure requires group members to write their ideas on different-colored cards and to pin them on a board for group examination.
1. A problem statement is written on a chalkboard or a pinboard which is visible to a 5-8 participants group round a table and the group discusses and clarifies it.
2. Stacks of colored cards are distributed among the group members, with each member receiving a different-colored stack.
3. The group members silently write down one idea on each card and placing it in a pile for their right-hand neighbour. 4. When group members need inspiration for generating additional ideas, they pick a card from the pile created by their left-hand neighbour. Fresh ideas triggered by this are written on new cards and are placed on the pile on their right. (The trigger card may be either retained or passed on at the same time.)
5. Thus the cards are transported round the table in the same direction from left to right of each participant. The leader should actively promote card circulation to avoid accumulation between particular participants.
6. After 20 to 30 minutes of this activity, the cards are gathered after and positioned on a large display board and sorted into idea categories, using title cards as headings for the different columns.
7. The group members read each card out , if necessary, move some cards to different categories and eliminate duplications. Categories can be adjusted and items re-categorised if appropriate.
8. The leader points to each card and asks for comments or questions to help clarify idea meanings. Because the ideas are color-coded, the originator of a particular idea can be easily determined and, if necessary, questions asked of this author.
The Pin-Card approach possesses many of the same advantages of brainwriting: it reduces anxiety for persons who have trouble verbalizing ideas in group situations, and a larger quantity of ideas can be generated than in most brainstorming. procedures.
A bottlenecks often develop when a group member receives more cards than he passes on and, second, the group members may feel a great deal of time pressure to generate as many ideas as possible.
15. The K-J method
Method was developed as the the Affinity Diagram by Japanese anthropologist Jiro Kawakita in the 1960s and has become one of the Seven Management and Planning Tools of modern Japanese quality management and uses values of Buddhism intended as structured meditation.
It is a Creativity or problem-solving technique in which ideas are written on cards, then the cards are grouped, and finally the grouped ideas are classified, named, voted and selected.
The KJ-Method tends to place emphasis on the ideas being relevant, verifiable and important. This variation of brainstorming encourages less verbal members of a group to participate. The method, in less than 45-minutes, allows teams to come to a democratic consensus on an answer, avoiding endless discussion for elements that turn out to be unimportant
1. Determination of a Focus Question or problem statement. Sample focus questions are: What are the biggest obstacles preventing our products from selling?
2. All members of the group write responses to the problem or question on separate cards.
a) Analyse. All relevant facts and information are written on individual cards and collated.
b) Idea generation. With the help of Brainstorming writing participants generate a supply of ideas on cards. Ideas are writing on separate cards.
3. Then each participant puts their cards up randomly on the white board or large wall space so all notes are visible to everyone. Participant read other people’s contributions and add new ideas to the collection.
4. The cards are silently grouped and categorize by each member while the others observe. Similar ideas are collected and placed together. It is very important that no one talk during this step.
5. Naming Each Group. When ideas are grouped, for each group, each participant select a heading to each group and assign a name that captures the meaning of the group. For each group write an apt title and place it on top of its group of cards. Names should be short. It is useful to write or highlight this note in a different color. Group names can be wrote on different color stickies.
4. If there many groups repeat the group making, using new titles to create higher-level groups. Combine groups into “supergroups” if appropriate.
Participants can discuss the shape of the chart, any surprising patterns, and especially reasons for moving controversial notes.
5. Voting for the Most Important Groups.
Every participant democratically share their opinion on the most important groups. They can first vote on group then on specific ideas within the groups
Procedures of voting:
a). Give each participant 3 -9 votes (stars) to place on the best ideas or groups.
b). Give each participant for voting 100 percent per person.
6. Ranking the Most Important Groups or ideas within groups.
Participans Grab all the group sticky notes with votes on them and place them on the whiteboard . The sticky with the highest numbers votes are place at the top.
7. Participants try to explain and express what the chart means to them. Ideas for the solution are often developed whilst explaining the structure of the problem. The team spend the most “discussion time” talking about the most important outcomes of the exercise.
It allows a team to be creative and critical in a productive manner,
It helps separate facts from opinions. It is an efficient way of organizing seemingly unrelated facts. It means thoughts are expressed, clarified, summarised and prioritised in a non-confrontational manner. It promotes effective teamwork.
It reduces the dominance of a vocal or strong individual on the conclusions of the team.
16. Snowballing technique
It is so called on the analogy of the increasing size of a snowball when rolled down a snow-covered slope. Snowball samples begin from a core of known elements and are then increased by adding new ideas and solutions.
It involves concentrating groups of ideas pertaining to the same problem and assigning them a theme. This method is often used where there is no available sampling frame of new fiild or process.
1. One slip of paper is used per idea generated or possible solution offered
2. A meeting is set up of up to 5 people. The slips of paper are viewed and then grouped ‘like with like’.
3. Duplicates can be created if the idea is relevant to more than one group.
4. Patterns and relationships in the groups are observed.
III. Brainstorming combined with other famous techniques
1. Team Idea mapping
The team idea mapping method is based on association. It may improve collaboration and increase the quantity of ideas, and is designed so that all attendees participate and no ideas are rejected.
1. The process begins with a well-defined topic.
2. Each participant brainstorms and gathers ideas individually.
3. All participants bring together and share the meaning of each of their ideas.
Then their ideas combined to form an immense map of ideas, called an idea map.
4. During ideas sharing, new ideas may arise by the association, and they are added to the map as well. The participants can asked to contribute in turn by associating the word or idea with another one. Then all ideas are merged onto one large idea map.
5. The final stage involves further idea generation, lastly prioritization and taking action based on the best ideas presented.
The benefit of this method is that it ensures a large volume of different ideas. It does also allow a broader perspective in the variety of ideas.
2. The classic cluster brainstorming method (the bubble method)
This technique helps to reveal many different aspects of the topic.
1. Write the topic or word in the in the center of the paper and draw a circle.
2. Take about 5-10 minutes and just jot words all around your word. It is nessessery freely to write down anything that comes to your mind. Any editing and erasing and corrections are not allowed.
3. Circle your new words, draw lines and make connections to the initial word.
4. Agaun just start writing new words about your words on the paper. Do not analyze and edit your work.
5. Evaluate and develop your ideas
There are some different ways of this method implementation:
a) Use a big white board to brainstorm as a group.
b) Have everyone write some ideas on their own cluster brainstorm, then come together and write it on the big white board.
3. Card story boards
It is an “idea’ organizing” method using tree logic. With card story boards, the facilitator can concentrate on idea-generation of particular topics and sub-topics much more closely than typically possible in open-ended methods .
Cards are arranged in a tabular format – a simple row of header cards, each with a column of idea cards below possibly header and sub-header cards, perhaps with added action or comment notes attached.
4. Trigger method
The trigger method is often used in conjunction with classical brainstorming ( Bujake, 1969). This method based on repetition. One idea triggers another and another and so on until as many thoughts as possible are generated.
1.The leader defines the problem.
2. He asks each member of the group to generate and record as many ideas as possible. (In silence during 5-10 minutes).
1. One member of the group is then asked to read out his or her ideas to the rest of the group.
2. The ideas read out are then discussed by the rest of the group for about ten minutes with the objective of developing variations on the ideas or new ideas.
3. The procedure continues until all ideas of each participants have been discussed.
1. One member reads out his list – others silently cross out ideas repetitive ideas and write down their new ideas
2. The next member reads out his original list of ideas not already covered, and his new list induced by listened ideas.
3. The last member reads out his original list and new list induced by listened ideas and procedure is repeated counter current (ie, if there are 6 folk, the order goes 1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5,6…)
Everyone’s paper is then collected and can be typed up into a single list of ideas – all duplicates should have been crossed out during the session.
1. Participants select the best idea or are collect then 5 – 10 are randomly chosen and brainstorm on those ideas as ‘triggers’ for more new ideas.
2. The procedure is repeated until participants have found the best solution.
Advantage.Tigger sessions are a good way of getting lots of ideas down from untrained resources.
5. Imaginary brainstorming
This method is like Classic Brainstorming, but with a slight differences.
1. The leader creates a problem statement. When defining the problem make sure that it has a subject – who is acting, a verb – the action, an object – who / what is being acted upon.
2. The leader conduct a traditional, classic brainstorming session.
3. Then, everyone suggests changes to some of the words to create a new problem statement, ideally one that is off-the-wall and bizarre.
4. They brainstorm again ideas for the imaginary problem and make a list of solutions.
6. The participant apply ideas from the imaginary brainstorming to the real problem statement.
7. They analyse all of the ideas (real, imaginary and combined) and take forward those of most interest.
6. Air cliché
This technique (author Arthur Van Gundy) is the combination of a fun atmosphere, a structured brainstorming procedure, and brainwriting. This idea generation activity helps groups generate ideas while simultaneously encouraging the playful atmosphere needed for unique ideas. Paper airplanes are used to create this atmosphere while enhancing cross-fertilization of ideas.
1. Define the problem and instruct the participants to organize into small groups of four to seven (five is ideal).
2. Pass out the following list of clichés to each participant. Incourage the group members to add their own clichés to this list.
List of Sample Cliches: Ace in the Hole. Cart Before the Horse. Chase a Rainbow. Divide and Conquer. Drop in the Bucket. Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining. Filled to the Brim. Fish in Troubled Waters.
3. Ask each person to select one cliché and try to use it as a trigger for an idea.
4. Tell participants to write it down on a piece of paper, using markers and writing in large letters and use it as trigger to brainstorm other ideas during five to ten minutes.
5. Then group members select three or four ideas, write them on papers and fold their papers into paper airplanes and fly them to one of the other groups. Everyone throws their airplanes at about the same time.
6. Group members next should collect the airplanes flown to them and take turns reading aloud the ideas written on.
7. Each group then tries to improve the ideas read or use them as triggers to brainstorm other ideas. Groups record all modifications and new ideas.
8. Finally, each group should select a sample of their best ideas and report them to the large group. Ask the large group to evaluate the overall process.
Air Cliché Variation:
Ask participants brainstorm totally absurd ideas for a problem, write them down on paper airplanes, and fly them to other groups. Groups receiving the ideas then discuss the ideas and decide which ones are most impractical. The winning idea is the most absurd one from all the groups. Ask each group to attempt transforming its worst idea into a more workable one.
The Battelle-Buildmappen-Brainwriting (BBB) method was developed by researchers at the Battelle Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. (J. N Warfield, H. Geschka and R. Hamilton, 1975).
The BBB approach begins with classical brainstorming, followed by idea stimulation from a picture portfolio (the buildmappen) and ends with a second round of idea generation using the basic brainstorming method.
1. A problem is read to a group numbering five to eight persons.
2. The group verbally brainstorms to develop known or trivial solutions to the problem.
3. Each group member is given a folder containing eight to ten pictures that are unrelated to the problem.
4. Each person writes down any new ideas or modificati ons of the old ideas suggested by the pictures.
5. The solutions of each group member are read to the entire group.
6. The group discusses the ideas with the goal of developing additional variations.
A major advantage of the BBB method is that the individual writing of ideas stimulated by the pictures can help overcome the personal inhibitions often found in face- to-face idea generation sessions. Ideas are generated by individual free-association, by stimulation of others’ ideas, and by stimulation from the pictures.
8. Visual brainstorming
Visual brainstorming technique is a graphic ideation, when group members sketch solutions to a problem. The sketches are used as a springboard for more solutions. Visual brainstorming is about collaboratively generating ideas without using the spoken or written word.
It is need a little imagination and the ability to visualise problems. Everyone can focus on ideas building and no one needs to wait for someone else to speak.
1. Idea Generation. Set a high target for participants: to generate 20-30 basic idea-sketches on a specific problem in 1hr.
Then private sketches are pooled and analyzed.
2. Evaluation Phase. Present your idea-sketches, trying to observe them with as much imagination as possible. Think of yourself as a critic, so looking at them from another perspective.
3. Rotate the sketches, place images on images, cover top of bottom half, these varying tactics may inspire yet another idea.
4. Comparison. Clustering all the sketches together, place complex ones with simplistic ones, make comparisons.
5. Log all the ideas that come to mind throughout the session, using different coloured pens to denote initial ideas, continuing ideas and then final more paramount ideas.
The team build a model of the current process and modify it to improve efficiency. The brainstormers can modify the existing model to improve it – or start from scratch and build a better system.
1. Participants use arts and crafts materials such as coloured construction paper, tape, string, card, pens, toy cars, wire, yarn to represent connections. Dolls and action figures to represent people. can be useful as well as encourage creative thinking.
2. Children’s construction toys such as building blocks, Lego can be used to create representations of divisions, communications methods and the strength of communications.
Role-play is one of probably way of visual brainstorming. This approach is verbal, but focuses uses movement, gesture and nonverbal cues. Group members create improvisational role plays.
Example. Have the brainstormers break up into teams, where one team represents target customers. The other represents the company. Design a number of improvisational role plays where the customers interact with the company. Discuss the results, how they can be improved and role play again.
When traditional thinking has become stale or dried up, visual brainstorming using graphic ideation may be a useful alternative
1. Unlike in a verbal brainstorming event where quiet people hide behind the noise, in a visual brainstorming event, it is obvious who is participating and who is not.
2. There is far less squelching in visual brainstorming. It is fun and provides a high level of personal concentration.
3. Quick, impulsive ideas put into sketch can help to avoid undeveloped ‘lost’ ideas.
4. Rapid response to an idea with an immediate sketch creates momentum, preventing any critical thought processes to intervene.
It is used as a visual method of creating ideas. It also can be used also as a change from other creative methods.
• Partially complete images have a particular creative use in that our minds do not like things to be incomplete and will hence try to complete them in any way possible.
• Images and doodling release participant creative potential.
• Using this method can trigger thoughts that other methods have not touched yet.
1. Problem statement.
2. Start by dreaming about the problem, thinking perhaps about some metaphor or essence within it, or just let your subconscious go where it will go.
3. Then just doodle whatever comes to mind. You can do as many doodles as possible. Don’t do detailed single images. Deliberately do incomplete parts of lots of images. Do curves and shapes that hint at what you are thinking about.
4. Combine the images. Now cast your mind across the images you have created and randomly pick two or a few and see if you can combine them in some way. It is possible to swap the doodles with another participants and hence use other people’s images to trigger further ideas.
5. The result may be a complete idea or may trigger further ideas about what you might do to solve your problem.
This technique can be used when a group of people prefer non-verbal methods of creativity. Braindrawing works by providing non-verbal stimulus to the creative (and non-verbal) right brain. Having the doodle done by everyone ensures that it is completely random, with a number of different elements. Participants should not fill the paper, but simply add to what is drawn, so the result is a mixture of everyone’s doodles. Mixed colours adds to the stimulation.
1. Pin or tape up a number (3-7) of flipchart pages around the room. Have enough flipchart pens so everyone can write on these. A mixture of colors is good.
2. Ask people to go to one flipchart at a time and start or extend the doodles there. Do an example yourself to show this.
3. Stop the doodles when all flipcharts are reasonably full (but not overloaded) with doodling.
4. Use the results as stimuli
5. Ask people what shapes they can see in the pictures, what it reminds them of and then how this can be brought back to create ideas to solve the problem at hand.
6. Capture the ideas on another flipchart and process afterwards in the normal way.
11. Brain sketch (A. Van Gandy, 1988)
Brainsketching is an idea generation technique, based on brainwriting, that uses sketching as the primary means of recording ideas.
1. A group of 4-8 people sit around a table, or in a circle of chairs. The problem statement is agreed, and discussed until understood.
2. Each participant privately draws one or more sketches (each on separate sheets of paper) of how it might be solved, passing each sketch on to the person on their right when it is finished. The facilitator suggests that sketches should not take more than 5 minutes or so to draw.
3. Participants take the sketches passed on to them and either develop or annotate them, or use them to stimulate new sketches of their own, passing the amended original and/or any new sketches on to their neighbors when ready. 4. After the process has been running for a suitable period or energy is running lower, the sketches are collected in.
5. It will probably help to display all the sketches and to discuss them in turn for clarification and comment.
6. Then participants move on to any appropriate categorisation, evaluation and selection process.
1. Participants sketch their ideas individually on several large sheets of paper pasted on the wall.
2. Then the participants explain their idea sketches, switch places and continue sketching. Usually, about five such rounds of idea sketching take place.
3. Finally all idea sketches are collected, integrated, disscussed and evaluated.
12. Electronic brainstorming, Online brainstorming or Brainlining
Online brainstorming (Peter Lloyd) or simply electronic brainstorming is the modern version of brainstorming. The word brainlining is combined with the words ‘brainstorming’ and ‘online’, and also refers to live, realtime brainstorm session.
It is done virtually, whereby people can be connected from different region and countries. Online brainstorming is conducted in the same way as traditional brainstorming the only difference is the absence of physical or visual presence.
1. Participants with an electronic meeting system, creates a shared list of ideas over the Internet.
2. All participants to enter ideas independently and simultaneously.
3. All ideas are recorded and become immediately visible to all.
4. All ideas are available to all participants during and after the session.
5. Ideas are typically anonymized to encourage openness and reduce personal prejudice. Anonymity is covered through the use of avatars.
6. In online brainstorming, the moderator does play a more pivotal role. Brainlining also introduces the leadership of a trained moderator who conducts each session and introduces special stimulants during the session
7. Brainlining sessions can be set up within a couple of hours, and can last anywhere from several hours to several weeks. The participants are thus allowed to think constructively and the volume of ideas does often tend to be larger and more versatile than those gathered from traditional brainstorming.
Brainlining describes several methods of generating ideas which have been taking place online. There are many mediums available to perform such an activity:
1. E-Mail Brainstorming. Using e-mail the facilitator solicits ideas from individual team members. Replies are sent back to the facilitator who compiles them and sends them back out to the team members for further responses. Brainlining clients are e-mailed a list of all of the ideas generated.
2. Forums. Online forums can be thought of as ongoing brainstorming sessions to the extent that they allow for the free flow of ideas. Online services such as Compuserve’s creativity forum provide a vast cross- disciplinary congregation, worldwide in scope, which provides the most diverse, intelligent and unique global think-tank imaginable.
3. Online forms. Participants can log in to a secure Web page and contribute their ideas when it’s most convenient for them. As ideas are submitted, they are stored in a secure database. It can be online form of professional idea-generators, which Lloyd calls “Idea Crews.”
4. These brainlining sessions make use of games designed for the peculiar dynamics of online idea generation. Brainlining games stimulate the flow of ideas, encourage humour, and make the process fun.
5. Peer-to-peer software
The Moderator is in charge; one has to follow the Moderator’s directions.
The Moderator states the problem and announces a letter of the alphabet.
All Brainliners make Suggestions using the given letter.
The games are played with intensity, mutual support and fun.
Play continues until the Moderator gives a new letter or stops the game.
The facilitator sends the question out to group members, and they contribute independently by sending their ideas directly back to the facilitator.
The facilitator then compiles a list of ideas and sends it back to the group for further feedback.
Brainlining is extremely efficient. By this method more ideas are generated and shared with less conformity than in a traditional brainstorming or brainwriting session.
1. It eliminates many of the problems of standard brainstorming, such as production blocking and evaluation apprehension.
2. Members of brainlining sessions tend to participate more freely. Brainstorming technique allow contributors to post their comments anonymously that sidestep a social barriers.
2. The most important feature of brainlining is cross-pollination. The Internet provides a vast, cross-disciplinary congregation, worldwide in scope, which provides the most diverse, intelligent. Brainlining sessions enlist people of divergent interests and expertise.
3. The benefits of electronic brainstorming increase with group size.
4. All ideas can be archived electronically in their original form, and then retrieved later for further thought and discussion.
13. The Military brainstorming version
This method is the part of “Appreciation Process”, which was developed by the both UK and Australian Army for operational planning and further improved by application of human factor. This technique is based on model on directed creativity and focuses on accurate appreciating of all aspects of the problem, before making a decision. (G. Klein, M. Sebell and others)
1. Define the problem. This is best done using the 5WH method, that is by considering the what, why, where, when, who and how of the problem.
2. Examine the facts and individual consideration. What are the factors that influence how you solve this problem. Determine exactly what each one really means to your problem. You can do this simply by asking the question “So what?” after each factor.
3. Present ideas. Once you have a thorough understanding of all the facts, and what this really means – you can start brain storming options for solving your problem.
4. Critique the ideas.
5. Integrate and development of ideas. Select the best solution and create the plan to achieve it.
6. Converge on solution.
14. Directed brainstorming
In this method the solution space, which includes the criteria and conditions for evaluating an excellent idea is known before the session is conducted. It is important to bear in mind that in some cases the established criteria can intentionally constrain the ideation process.
1. Еach participant is given one sheet of paper and told the brainstorming question or problem.
2. They are asked to produce one response and stop, then all of the papers are randomly swapped among the participants.
3. The other participant will evaluate the idea and try to improve the idea based on the initial criteria.
4. The swapping process is continued for at least for three or more consecutive rounds.
It has been found to almost triple efficiency of directed brainstorming.
15. Variable Brainstorming
1. Identify the variable in the end outcome you look to achieve.
2. List down all the possibilities for that variable. Define different variations of the Variable.
3. Think about the question with each different variable in the form: How can you get more…?
4. Cconsistently generate and brainstorm ideas as answers to questions.
This method is a straightforward and vigorous technique, which can be put into place with little training and capable of capturing attention and participation.
Starting from a large list of ideas, which received from brainstorming. Ideas are screened, the best of which are short-listed triggering discussion.
1. Draw out ideas that seem intriguing or interesting, regardless of viability.
2. Sort into clusters of related ideas, each cluster being a ‘hotspot’.
3. Recognise the ‘hotspots’ that mean something to you, does it have any ‘associations’, perhaps it has unusual consequences or implications?
4. The final solution is the ‘hotspot’, or combination of several ‘hotspots’, that best suit your needs.
Сlusters are only created from items that are felt to be interesting or intriguing, so that the clusters identify ‘hotspots’ – groups of related ideas that have ‘connected’ with someone’s imagination. Other clustering techniques tend to emphasise logical categorisation rather than strength of ‘association’.
17. Value Brainstorming
1. Ask the group to brainstorm and make a list of primary concerns regarding their problem statement.
2. Ask all participants to brainstorm to make a list of some of the hidden values lie behind this primary concerns.
3. Participants should rank these values and clarify their meaning.
4. The group should suggest solutions based on these values and what can be done to action the ranked results.
18. Didactic Brainstorming
1. Begin with a question that is an abstract version of your problem statement. For example: What is beauty?
2. Get participants to discuss for a few minutes, and come up with a variety of answers.
3. Then reveal your true problem statement: How can we improve the appearance of our staff room?.
This approach might appeal to more philosophical learners.
19. Best idea brainstorming
After defining and clarifying the topic, each person writes down one idea on an index card.
Then partners share their ideas with one another and together write a “best” idea.
These partner ideas are then listed, discussed, culled, and prioritized by the full group.
20. Brainstorming Deluxe
Value-added brainstorming (Greg Bachman, 2000) puts ideas into five segments of a compounding process. It structures the flow of ideas so that each segment of ideas adds value to the next.
1. Demand. List ideas about what’s causing the problem you are here to solve.
One feature of this step is that it can unearth causes that haven’t been recognized as driving the problem.
2. Objectives. Listing goals – what do you want to achieve in solving the problem.
Set aside the managerial tendency to simplify by coping with only a single objective. By understanding the many possible solutions, the richness of the value-added brainstorming process begins to unfold.
3. Resources. List places and other organizations that you can to go for help with the problem.
After completing step 3, give your group time to breathe and review:
Walk them through the list of ideas from step 1, and reiterate the ideas suggested as objectives.
The review process gives the group an opportunity to make a few more visual and cognitive connections between the cause of the problem and the resources needed to solve it.
4. Processes. List ways to turn the previous ideas into methods, plans, products, and services that will meet your objectives.
Processes are concepts that take resources ideas and shape them into practical ways they can be implemented.
Now, with their ability to focus on details and construct viable processes from the smallest ideas, this formerly silent bunch is adding value.
5. Communication. List possible ways to transfer your ideas to people who might value them.
If participant’s solution will add value to the organization, then they must communicate it. Communication transfers the value of the solutions (processes) to the rest of the organization and its stakeholders.
Markov, S.L. (2010) Mozkovyi schturm i jogo riznovydy jak efektyvni instrumenty vyrichennj upravlinskih problem [Brainstorming and its variants as effective tools for solving management problems] In S.D. Maksimenko & L.M. Karamushka (Eds.), Actualni problemy psichologii. Vol 1, 27, (pp. 297-215). Kyiv: Publishing House “A.C.K”.