Sunday, May 14, 2006

Brainstorming - Don't Cloud Your Mind

Brainstorming - Don't Cloud Your Mind

The brain is one amazing device. It's the centerpiece of the body, seemingly everything goes through the brain. Probably all the great inventions that have come through history, were originally inside someone's brain. Many studies have been done on the brain and the prevailing thought, is that most people use less then 10% of their brain capacity. Maybe the fact that people don't use their brains as much as they should, is why brainstorming was created.
Brainstorming was the creation of Alex Osborn. Osborn was an ad exec. and he realized that normal business meetings, weren't creating the type of new ideas that he needed from his employees. He wanted to find a better way for each person to share their ideas. In a normal business meeting, most people are afraid to speak up. They're afraid of looking stupid, afraid of people laughing at their ideas and more than anything, they're afraid of being criticized.
Osborn understood the fears that the employees had, so he had to come up with new rules, that would allow each person to give their ideas, without fear. The rules that Osborn created, became what is now known as brainstorming. The rules of brainstorming, is as follows, no ideas can be criticized, come up with as many ideas as possible, build on each others ideas and any strange or weird ideas are welcomed.

What Osborn did was allow his employees to be individuals, at least during the brainstorming sessions. When people join a business, they usually have to put their personality aside. Businesses like people to conform to a certain way of thinking. Brainstorming gave people their personality back. It allowed them to speak their minds, without the fear of retribution. Osborn noticed that a lot more ideas were coming through the brainstorming sessions and not only that, but initial ideas were being transformed into quality ideas that the company could use.

Though created for a group, brainstorming can be done on an individual basis. The problem is, the number of ideas coming from one person will be limited. Plus, one person will not have the quality of ideas, that can come from a group. An individual may also lose focus during the process, whereas a group helps everyone stay on the same page. It's debatable which brainstorming process is better, group or individual, it probably depends on the people involved and what they're trying to achieve.

Brainstorming was a great creation. It had and continues to help people and businesses maximize their potential. Though Osborn is given credit for brainstorming, the process has probably been around long before Osborn gave it a name. Musicians, for decades, have been known to collaborate on musical projects. Those collaborations were just another form of brainstorming. Though not on the same scale as business, people brainstorm on a daily basis. People are always asking each other their opinions on, the best places to shop, eat and where to take their cars for repair. Daily brainstorming may not be as technical as Osborn's version, but the basic premise of brainstorming, is to have as many different opinions as needed.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Brainstorming

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