Thun­der and brain­storms

Malta Independent - - ENEWS & TECH -

Ka­rina Costa is a se­nior de­signer at Alert Dig­i­tal by Deloitte. For more in­for­ma­tion, please see www.alert.com.mt

Above all, an or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture is es­sen­tial to en­cour­age cre­ativ­ity and, there­fore, it is nec­es­sary to teach peo­ple to use their skills, to re­ward cre­ativ­ity and use group idea gen­er­a­tion tech­niques. This last con­cept is used es­pe­cially when teach­ing peo­ple to be cre­ative and a tech­nique that stands out is known as ‘brain­storm­ing’.

Alex Os­born, a mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive from Madi­son Av­enue, orig­i­nally au­thored the brain­storm­ing method. The ap­proach was pub­lished in 1953, in his book “Ap­plied Imag­i­na­tion”. This method was widely used, par­tic­u­larly, in ar­eas of hu­man re­la­tions, mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing. Among many other meth­ods, the brain­storm­ing tech­nique pro­poses that a group of peo­ple come to­gether and use the dif­fer­ence in thoughts and ideas to reach an ef­fec­tive com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor, gen­er­at­ing in­no­va­tive ideas that take a pro­ject for­ward.

It is prefer­able that peo­ple who en­gage in this method are from dif­fer­ent sec­tors and skills, be­cause their di­verse ex­pe­ri­ences can col­lab­o­rate with the “brain­storm­ing” that forms over the sug­ges­tions and dis­cus­sion process. No idea should be dis­carded or judged as wrong or ab­surd. All ideas are heard and brought to the “brain-write” process, which con­sti­tutes in the com­pi­la­tion or an­no­ta­tion of all the ideas that oc­curred in the brain­storm­ing process, in a meet­ing with par­tic­i­pants of the brain­storm­ing ses­sion, and thus evolv­ing the ideas un­til the ar­rival of an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

Here are some tips on how to brain­storm.

Brain­storm­ing time

The brain­storm is usu­ally an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence but un­for­tu­nately it can­not last for­ever. Set a time for it to hap­pen ac­cord­ing to the pro­ject. There isn’t a stan­dard amount of time for it, it can be 10, 30 and some­times 60 min­utes. Each dis­cus­sion theme to be in­cluded should be ap­proached and dealt sep­a­rately.

One by one

It is very easy to cre­ate a flood of noise where no­body can hear any­thing be­cause it seems that ev­ery­one is talk­ing at the same time. So, it is im­por­tant to en­sure each per­son speaks one at a time so that all in­volved in the process can un­der­stand pre­cisely each idea. It is a method set and pe­cu­liar­i­ties are the dif­fer­ence.

Fo­cus

Game of Thrones was crazy?! Ju­ven­tus al­most lost the match? Yes, we can all talk about this but prefer­ably not dur­ing the brain­storm­ing process. The im­mer­sion in the sub­ject is nec­es­sary for the ideas to flow more nat­u­rally and spend time with other mat­ters is what you would call a “shot in the foot”.

Vol­ume is es­sen­tial

To make judg­ments or in­ter­rupt­ing a col­league dur­ing the brain­storm is un­wel­come. It should be, as the name sug­gests, a storm of ideas. So, let it rain, then check whether it works or not, if you have bud­get for it, if the IT depart­ment will de­liver on time…

Co-cre­ation and in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary

How­ever ab­surd they may seem, some ideas need to be worked on, de­vel­oped. The more peo­ple work­ing means there are more chances that such an idea can evolve and adapt to the pro­ject and be well im­mersed in the brain­storm. Con­vert­ing some ideas into graph­ics also helps the com­pre­hen­sion in gen­eral from a vis­ual per­spec­tive and so do dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions and dis­ci­plines.

Cen­sure is cen­sured!

This one is pretty self-ex­plana­tory - no ideas are bad or for­bid­den dur­ing brain­storm­ing.

Doc­u­ment the brain­storm

Af­ter 3 min­utes of many ideas, it is nor­mal that no one re­mem­bers the first idea. Be­cause this pat­tern keeps go­ing through the brain­storm, it is im­por­tant to make some­one in charge of writ­ing down all the ideas or to record au­dio/video (there are many ways to doc­u­ment what is be­ing said).

Tab­u­la­tion of ideas

There is no use of hav­ing a brain­storm if it is not tab­u­lated, di­vided into clus­ters and pre­pared for some­thing like a post-brain­storm­ing where all the ideas gath­ered, the main can­di­dates are cho­sen, stud­ied and or­gan­ised to be­come some­thing more con­crete. It’s like a fil­ter: all was ac­cepted but in the end only the most rel­e­vant are used. What is not used, can be shelved for fu­ture ref­er­ence.

When you need quick an­swers to rel­a­tively sim­ple ques­tions, brain­storm­ing is one of the most pop­u­lar and help­ful tech­niques. From another per­spec­tive, where most of us spend so much time at work in front of a com­puter screen, the wel­come break of a cre­ative brain­storm ses­sion is also a so­cial ac­tiv­ity that can be seen as a way to in­crease the bond be­tween a team.

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