Thunder and brainstorms
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.
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.
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.