Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Five Tips For Successful Brainstorming

Corporate brainstorming often fails because participants don’t enter into it in the proper spirit. There are two phases of the creative process: the imaginative phase and the practical phase.

The first thing to remember in phase one of a brainstorming session is this: all ideas are good. No matter how lame they may sound initially, write them down without comment.

You must establish an unthreatening environment in order to get your participants to loosen up and start throwing any ideas out. Consider these tips for better brainstorming:

First, identify the problem. It is often best to outline this ahead of time in written form so that everyone comes to the session with the problem defined.

Next, set the stage and the rules. Tell participants that the brainstorming session is for generating as many ideas as possible and that the person who comes up with the most ideas, not the best, will be rewarded. The only rule for brainstorming is this: no one criticizes anyone’s ideas. Positive thinking is the rule of the day.

Discuss the problem for a few minutes. Do you have it properly defined? Are you asking the right question? Here’s an example: about three hundred years ago there was a plague that first sent victims into a deathlike coma from which most never recovered. One man – an exception to the rule - was buried alive. The townspeople didn’t want this to happen again. One group had the costly idea to place food and water inside and an air hole from the casket to the surface. Another group’s idea was simple and low cost: place a 12-inch spike in the top of the casket so that when the lid closed there would be no question about the occupant’s status. Both answers were right, but the questions they asked were different. “What should we do if we bury someone alive?” and “How can we make sure everyone we bury is dead?”

Now, develop as many ideas as possible. Think quantity, not quality. You can sort out the wheat from the chaff later in the practical phase.

Finally, the session moderator is there to keep things moving. If things bog down, pull out these trusty questions. Why not? What if? What rules can we break? What assumptions can we drop? What if budget was not an issue? What if we looked at this backward from the desired result? Is there something we can eliminate in order to reach our result? Could we add something to the process?

Follow these tips and you’ll have better, more productive brainstorming sessions and creative thinking just might become a part of your corporate culture.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Focus Four, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, Verbatim and Wicked Choppers. Article Source:

Brainstorming For New Ideas

Brainstorming is a great way to come up with new creative ideas. For years it’s been considered most effective when people brainstorm in a group, but research is now showing this is not necessarily so.

Dr. Paul Paulus, psychologist at the University of Texas Creativity Lab, after 14 years of studying the science of creative brainstorming, has discovered that individuals working alone, without the fear of looking foolish in front of their peers, generate twice as many ideas as those working in a group. This is great news for anyone wanting to create new ideas for abundance and wealth.

Some important traditional techniques include: letting your imagination run wild, going for a quantity of ideas rather than focusing on quality and making a decision to suspend any judgment until later. But Dr. Paulus realized that other methods can also greatly increase an individual’s creativity.

Brainstorming through “brainwriting” (writing down every idea that comes to mind) can generate 40% more new ideas than just thinking about things. Another productive technique is taking a break and coming back to the problem when you feel refreshed. With this second round, Dr. Paulus found people could come up with 66% more ideas.

So, when you’re looking for insight or breakthroughs, get out paper and pen. Write down every possibility - no matter how outrageous. Then take a walk, sleep on it or just enjoy a nice relaxing bath. After all, the great Greek mathematician, Archimedes, got one of his most life-changing ideas while in the tub. He was so excited he jumped out of the water and ran naked through the streets of Athens shouting, “Eureka, I found it!”

Although enthusiasm is very important, that much “bare” spontaneity isn’t necessary. As Dr. Paulus discovered, you don’t have to “share yourself” with a whole group of others when brainstorming for new ideas.

Katie Byrd will take you by the hand and teach you the skills she's used to journey from a financially strapped, bad credit nightmare to debt free abundant living. To find out more visit:
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