Welcome to our Brain Storming Session
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Below are some steps for brainstorming outlined in Forbes: <– click here for the full article.
1. Lay out the problem you want to solve.
This may be easier said than done. Keeney describes a doctoral student who is at sea while trying to come up with a dissertation topic and advisor. The student grasps for ideas with only the vaguest idea of a goal, stated as negatives rather than positives. “I don’t think I could do it,” “it is not interesting to me,” “it seems too hard,” and “it would be too time consuming.” Then finally someone suggests an idea that doesn’t have any of those negatives. The doctoral student grabs the topic. But Keeney says this is a poor way to make a major decision. Instead the student should keep pushing until they come up with at least five more alternatives, and then, considering all those, “identify your objectives for your dissertation, evaluate the alternatives and select the best.” It will be well worth the effort.
2. Identify the objectives of a possible solution.
This is what Keeney did for the German energy company and what he’s done for several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the energy department. It’s not easy and it takes time but if you can approach your goals critically and hone in on what you want to achieve, your brainstorming session will be much more effective.
3. Try to generate solutions individually.
Before heading into a group brainstorming session, organizations should insist that staffers first try to come up with their own solutions. One problem with group brainstorming is that when we hear someone else’s solution to a problem, we tend to see it as what Keeney calls an “anchor.” In other words, we get stuck on that objective and potential solution to the exclusion of other goals.
4. Once you have gotten clear on your problems, your objectives and your personal solutions to the problems, work as a group.
Though he acknowledges that it’s a challenge not to “anchor” on one solution in a brainstorming session, Keeney believes that if participants have done their homework, clarifying the problem, identifying objectives, and individually trying to come up with solutions, a brainstorming session can be extremely productive.