This is a great idea if you want to generate ideas quickly. It encourages divergent thinking among your team, as they collectively address issues facing your company.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure it works effectively:
1) Explain the process you will follow: Encourage the group’s input, while a recorder lists the ideas up on a board. There are no rules or judgments in this phase; people should be allowed to keep an open mind, freewheel, generate as many ideas as possible, building on the ideas of others, and make sure all ideas are visible to everyone.
2) Ask for ideas to generate the thinking: number the suggestions for ease of reference later. Don’t discuss the ideas yet, leave it till later.
3) Synthesise similar ideas: when all ideas are exhausted, identify ideas that are alike or similar. Then compile a statement that incorporates these points into a single idea, removing the superseded ideas from the list.
4) Group the ideas: Many people group the ideas into three levels – the impossible (very little can be done with these) – the unlikely (can’t be ruled out) – the possible (those that can be addressed and given prime attention).
5) Give priority to the best ideas: place the best ones that will be the subject of further discussion in priority order.
6) Develop an action plan: address the problem under review with specific actions, allocated to various team members.
Our brainstorms here in the office have taken anything from five minutes to a week, and they have always proved beneficial, because all the team are involved and everyone has a chance to input. Make sure you encourage divergent thinking and then convergent thinking to get the best results. Our next blog will go into more detail.
Originally published: 22 November, 2010
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