Brainstorming is a collective activity where a specific problem can be solved by collecting ideas from a group of participants. In this situation, people are able to think freely and generate new ideas together. One of the biggest problem of brainstorming is when a few people in the group do most of the talking, which can prevent some fresh ideas to come into light. So how can we effectively brainstorm? Let’s study some practical group brainstorming techniques.
7 Popular Brainstorming Methods
Using tools to analyze the problems can improve the efficiency of brainstorming. Mindmapping is one such visual tool to enhance the brainstorming process, which is widely used as brainstorming tools. Especially for problem-solving, the fishbone diagram is designed to analyze the cause and effect of certain problems and mostly applied in the manufacturing field. Here we also have a tutorial on how to make a fishbone diagram.
Brain Writing (Slip Writing)
The basic idea of brainwriting is to encourage everyone in the group to write down their ideas on index cards and share them with the group. Each member has enough time to think about the topic and participate in brainstorming. Not only does it avoid idea anchoring, but it also gives opportunities to more introverted participants as well.
To begin the process of starbursting, first create a six-pointed star. Write down the problem or challenge at the center of the star and write who, what, where, why, when and how at each point. Expand each interrogative to a complete question sentence, for example, who is our target market? The strength of starbursting lies in its quick completion and high efficiency rate. Leading by 5WH questions, your team can explore the problem effectively in just a short time.
Role Storming (Figure Storming)
When role storming, team leaders ask the participants to think about how to handle the situation from a different perspective. For instance, imagine that you are the boss, what will you do to retain employees? As the saying goes, “A thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.” It works best for teams who are working with repetitive projects. And a similar technique is to put yourself in the shoes of a historical figure and try figure storming.
Brain-netting (Online Brainstorming)
Just as the name suggests, brain-netting is brainstorming on the internet. All industries have virtual teams all across the world. In the past decades, it’s hard to communicate with remote colleagues and collaborate. Online brainstorming tools make collaborative work easier.
Round Robin Brainstorming
In round-robin brainstorming, everyone is requested to share an idea and comment on others’ ideas. The facilitator stands inside the circle and starts by asking a question. Then the team contributes their ideas one by one. Due to the style of this brainstorming technique, it’s great for face to face, middle-sized group brainstorming. What’s more, if a team member notices that someone repeated his views, the member who repeated will be given time to come up with a new idea.
Step Ladder Brainstorming
With step ladder brainstorming, everyone makes contributions without being influenced by the whole team. The rule is to leave two members in the room together with the team leader. They can’t stop discussing topics until the third one added in. The new person is asked to share his own ideas before discussing the ideas generated by the first two people. Keep repeating this routine until everyone is together in the room.
Brainstorming is an extraordinary method for idea generation and creative thinking. The better you are good at brainstorming, the better your outcomes are likely to be. All of the methods can be combined with others for an even stronger effect.