Making Your Brainstorming Sessions Productive and Effective

Jeremy Mailman By Jeremy Mailman, 6th Mar 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Sales & Marketing

A brainstorming session is a group creativity technique. It is designed to define a problem, generate a large number of ideas to find the best answer for a plan of action to solve it. This method was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in 1953. In his book titled Applied Imagination, he suggested that groups could double their creative output with his brainstorming technique. Here are some guidelines in conducting one.

Have a relaxing atmosphere.

1. Limit a group to a maximum of 15 participants.

2. Have a face-to-face interaction. Use round tables than a squared one. Better still, do not use tables at all.

3. Make the venue very comfortable for the members. Comfort room must be near or within the venue.

4. Do not allow cell phones or gadgets during the session. Keep them off.

5. Prepare the group by telling them that the objective is to get creative ideas or solutions. All contributions are evenly important. Every member and every idea are equal.

Get wild on the ideas.

6. Do not allow evaluation or suggestions. Do not evaluate your own ideas and the ideas of others. Encourage exaggerated ideas. Get wild.

7. Everyone must listen carefully to the ideas of everyone in the group.

8. All members must try to expand all ideas. Build on. Quantity counts and not quality.

9. Do not look for what you think is the right idea or answer. Just start generating answers. The right one will eventually come.

10. Be informal. Blurt out ideas immediately when it comes without raising one’s hand.

Session not over until ideas run out.

11. Let them feel that it is a group effort. Don’t call them by their names but use “we” when speaking.

12. Record the session. Tape recording it is best. Writing the ideas on the board may slow down the flow of ideas but everyone can see to think of ways to expand them. If the group decides on using the board, rotate the note takers.

13. There must be no time limit. The session is not over until all members run out of ideas. Prepare all members for a marathon session. Serve snacks.

14. If you think the group ran out of ideas, end the session but tell them that if they have any ideas later in the day or on the way home, they should let you know because you are interested. Tell them where you are and give them your contact number.


Brainstorming, Brainstorming Session, Business, Career Path, Group Effort, Meeting

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author avatar Jeremy Mailman
Freelance writer. Researcher. Creative Artist. Coffee lover. Friend. Family man.


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author avatar Rathnashikamani
7th Mar 2011 (#)

Jeremy Mailman,

This is so nice of you sharing such a an interesting article.

I wonder if you can clarify whether the same brainstorming technique has led to the concept of Quality Circles in Japan.

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