Brainstorming is a relatively simple and cheap way of generating ideas. Although it can be done individually, it usually involves a group of people who are looking to generate ideas that will provide a solution to a problem or situation. The aim is to generate as many ideas as possible that can then be evaluated at a later date.
It is a technique that can be used in almost any situation where solutions to a problem and new ideas are required and can be used with a small or large group of people. The most effective and rewarding brainstorming sessions are those where there are as few rules, inhibitions and boundaries as possible. It is usual to appoint a group leader who is responsible for controlling the brainstorming session. They can then be responsible for recording the thoughts and ideas which are simply written up on a wall, flip chart or blackboard for all to see. It is suggested that an effective brainstorming session should last for no more than 30 - 40 minutes. Once the session has been completed, thought can then be given to selecting ideas to move forward for further consideration and evaluation. Criteria that can be used for selection may include :
Edward De Bono suggests considering first, those items that appear to be useful immediately, second, those items for further exploration and finally, new concepts.
Brainstorming has many benefits and advantages that include :
The benefits and advantages outweigh any disadvantages. However, if we are to consider disadvantages, they may include: