Brainstorming 101 | The Key to Coming Up with Good Ideas

When planning a new project, presentation or solving a logistical problem, it is typically much simpler if you start by finding as many ideas and solutions. It is called brainstorming.

What is brainstorming? Basically, brainstorming can be a group activity or something you do on your own. Either way, there must be a free flow of ideas where all possibilities are considered.

As for today, we’re going to discuss two forms of brainstorming: individual brainstorming and group brainstorming.


1. INDIVIDUAL BRAINSTORMING

Individual brainstorming is when you find yourself struggling with a question, project or concept. It helps you take a deep breath, pull out a pen and paper, and start a personal brainstorming session.

Once you start, promise yourself that you will jot down any idea or concept that comes into your mind, even it is silly, crazy or may seem impossible. The aim of this first step is to go for quantity, not quality.

There are few common ways of brainstorming on your own. One, is to write the question or issue at the top of the page. Then, write down, either in a list or paragraph format of any idea that enters your mind. This also sometimes called freewriting.
Other than that, is to write the issue or problem in the centre of a blank sheet of paper. Then, draw a circle around it. Lastly, add any new idea to the branch leading off the main idea.

When you start writing, make sure to set a timer. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking at the paper for a long time or writing forever. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to the brainstorming session.

When you write for the amount of time you have selected, go back and read your thoughts. Narrow down the proposals by choosing the ones that are most promising.


2. GROUP BRAINSTORMING

Let’s say if you could not come up with a solution or idea by doing personal brainstorming, you may need to seek help through a group brainstorming.

Group brainstorming works best between 6 to 12 participants. Try to choose people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Also, sometimes we get so close to the problem or topic that we can’t see the forest through the woods. Sometimes, the person with little or no experience with the issue can offers the best ideas.

You may start group brainstorming sessions by laying down some ground rules and the most important is that no idea or suggestion should be mocked or criticized. After all, you never know which random suggestion that will lead someone else to come up with a brilliant idea.

Then, it’s also important to set a time limit for group brain-storm sessions. Nonetheless, make sure all participants have the time to share their thoughts.

Next, you need to explain the issue that you want to be brainstormed, followed by the details that you can require. One thing you should know is that the more details you provide, the more creatively others can respond.

Moreover, jot down all the suggestions that have been made, even if it is a far-fetched idea, because it could make a worthy solution.

When the time is up, it is time for you to organize your ideas into groups of similar ideas. Then, list out the plans that are not practicable. Eventually, you’re going to end up with a list of the best ideas, and that’s how you’ve achieved useful brainstorming.