The brainstorming technique is commonly applied in the business and university environment to generate ideas, through the exchange of information within a department or team.
However, many of the practices in place can help freelancers and businesses of any size emerge from a time of creative stagnation.
If you have a blog, you dedicate yourself to graphic design, you have a small fashion business or your profession involves developing a creative or artistic process, this post interests you.
You will have times where everything that goes through your head ends up becoming a brilliant business idea. But unfortunately, you will also be blocked on more than one occasion, so attending a group session of these characteristics can get you out of more than one trouble.
Brainstorming Meaning And Utilities
Group techniques such as brainstorming (or brainstorming) are great practices that can be carried out at different levels, from an entire marketing department to a small group of “colleagues”.
Let’s see specifically what it is and what is the meaning of brainstorming, as well as discover when is the best time to put it into practice.
What is Brainstorming?
This concept was created by Alex Faickney Osborn in 1939 and its basis is not so much about brainstorming as it is about identifying a problem and coming up with solutions, using the creative mind.
Brainstorming, or brainstorming, is a technique used to generate ideas through participation and creative thinking, which arise from a group of people.
Therefore, brainstorming is a technique that seeks to solve a problem with the help of cooperation and creative collaboration.
When to carry out this technique?
Group techniques like brainstorming (or brainstorming) are great practices that can be carried out at different levels, from an entire marketing department to a small group of ‘colleagues’.
Although there is no need to put into practice brainstorming, these types of techniques are very frequent when in a business or within a work team there is a need to:
- Analyze the cause of a problem.
- Propose alternative or innovative solutions.
- Encourage group and individual creativity.
- Solve a latent problem.
- Combat monotony.
- Create a stress-free work environment.
- Unleash the creativity of teams.
Brainstorming activities to be done in one session
Brainstorming is a technique that is put into practice among a group of people or work team to carry out an organization, establish a role and monitor the process, with the aim of obtaining a good result.
Important: The figure of the facilitator is essential in a group brainstorming session, since the discussion or exchange of opinions as a team usually generates insecurities among the most reserved members, as well as certain tensions or conflicts if the process is not carried out in moderation.
These are the main brainstorming activities that are most effective in these group sessions:
➽ Generation of heterogeneous opinions
The team must be heterogeneous so that different opinions are contributed. A good idea is to include external people in these practices who can give totally different points of view.
➽ Presentation of the participants
If the participants do not know each other previously, it is essential to introduce them to break the ice. At the beginning it is also a good time to set expectations to generate debate and encourage the first contribution of ideas.
➽ Creating a relaxed atmosphere
Encourage good humor so that fun allows participants to relax and unleash creativity. In addition, it would help a lot if these practices are carried out in a different environment than usual, and even special.
➽ Take a walk or take a breath
It is highly recommended that these practices are carried out in a different environment than usual, and even special. To avoid tension or blockages, it is good to give the team free rein to go for a walk or take the air.
➽ Discussions based on specific questions
For example, asking good questions leads to a greater number of questions and reflections by the team. However, if this practice is carried out within a company, the rules and the usual decision-making process should not be ignored.
➽ Compilation of the best ideas without discrimination
When collecting the best ideas, if it is a session of several participating groups, it is ideal for each group to select their own 3-5 best ideas, so that no one is discriminated against.
➽ Make everyone feel comfortable avoiding criticism
These sessions, when implemented among a large number of participants, can generate insecurities among the most reserved.
So avoiding criticism or doing it in small subdivided groups can help some participants feel more comfortable and keep generating ideas active.
Other group techniques to encourage creativity
In addition to the participants carrying out all these activities in a brainstorming session, there are other techniques to take into account to apply in these group meetings:
- Words are unnecessary: This is a fairly simple technique that produces a large number of original ideas by describing the advantages of a concept or product without naming it, similar to the “Taboo” board game.
- Lateral thinking: This technique is also applicable in daily life (individually or in groups) as a driver of change, since it aims to solve a problem through the use of the imagination. Conventional solutions are obviated by provoking thought towards other unusual alternatives.
- Six hats to think: Based on the book by Edward Bono, this technique can be combined with lateral thinking and is applied in a group way based on the imaginary adoption of “roles” or “colored hats” that allows perceiving a problem from different perspectives.
- Mental maps: This technique developed by Tony Buzan encourages the generation of new ideas from the representation of ideas or words through symbols or diagrams, facilitating the extraction of information and reflection.
- Synectic: This is a group technique that is usually applied as an alternative to Brainstorming and is similar to lateral thinking, since it also seeks to provide a solution to a given problem. I leave you a link to organize a synectic session.
I am going to mention two brainstorming techniques below, with specific examples, so that you understand how they are applied and their effectiveness.
➽ 5 Whys Technique
It is about asking five times in a row why something should finally understand the problem. Let’s take the example of a logo. The problem is that the logo does not convey its essence of the brand.
The questions can be:
- Why does it not convey the essence of the brand? – Because it does not transmit the values of the brand.
- Why is the brand values not transmitted? – Because it does not connect with the audience.
- Why don’t you connect with the audience? – Because its design is obsolete.
- Why is your design obsolete? – Because it hasn’t changed for 10 years.
- Why hasn’t it changed for 10 years? – Because I was not aware of the importance of rebranding.
After all these questions, we came to the conclusion that the mistake is that the redesign of the logo was not given importance. And therein lies the crux of the matter.
➽ Forced ranking
This technique is great when you have to choose between several complex ideas. For example, if the objective of this brainstorming is to generate ideas for a creative campaign for a new drink that Coca-Cola is going to launch, with this technique, the mechanism is as follows:
- First, you have to reduce the number of ideas to 10 (if it is 5 better).
- Write them on a table, in rows.
- In the columns put the criteria that will help you choose the best idea, according to the objective.
- Each participant puts a rating on each criterion (if there are 10 ideas, the minimum score will be 10).
- At the end the scores are added and the one with the highest rating is chosen.
Brainstorming is ideal for specific company teams and departments, who are really looking to differentiate themselves from their competition, through creativity and innovation.
Therefore, if you are looking to impact your clients, conducting these group sessions will allow you to solve their specific problems with creative ideas; many of them unexpected and brilliant.
I hope that if you had doubts about the brainstorming activities carried out in the sessions, now you have already solved them and are encouraged to participate in them ;-).
Have you ever attended or done a brainstorming session? What other techniques would you recommend?